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Legislative Updates: March 2009

 

Capitol Call

After finishing the $787 billion economic stimulus law, Congress focused on legislative issues this month including the federal budget, the on-going economic crisis, and the financial regulatory system.

The House of Representatives approved a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill which will fund government operations through September 2009. The Senate is expected to approve this omnibus bill in the near future. In addition, President Obama released his 2010 budget plan which starts the annual budgetary process for the federal government.

The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) held a second hearing on the Madoff Ponzi scheme early in the month as well as hearings on the TARP program and monetary policy. HFSC Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) announced that he expects a two-step process on regulatory overhaul. The first step would be approval of a new systemic risk regulator and the second stage would address the legislation required to reorganize agencies. Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee (SBC) held a hearing on modernizing the U.S. financial regulatory system where Paul Volcker presented the Group of Thirty report.

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing where interested stakeholders were given an opportunity to comment on H.R. 977, the Derivatives Markets Transparency Act legislation. The House Agriculture Committee approved a revised version of this bill. The legislation has been referred to the HFSC.

On market structure issues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report on how to improve the management and organization of the SEC. Some of its recommendations related to the Self Regulatory Organizations (SRO) rule approval process. Also, legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives which would impose a transaction fee on both securities and futures to reimburse the Treasury for the cost of the TARP program and other programs administered by the Fed. The OCC’s Washington DC office has been meeting with Members of the House Ways and Means Committee to express its opposition to this proposal. After finishing the $787 billion economic stimulus law, Congress focused on legislative issues this month including the federal budget, the on-going economic crisis, and the financial regulatory system.

The House of Representatives approved a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill which will fund government operations through September 2009. The Senate is expected to approve this omnibus bill in the near future. In addition, President Obama released his 2010 budget plan which starts the annual budgetary process for the federal government.

The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) held a second hearing on the Madoff Ponzi scheme early in the month as well as hearings on the TARP program and monetary policy. HFSC Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) announced that he expects a two-step process on regulatory overhaul. The first step would be approval of a new systemic risk regulator and the second stage would address the legislation required to reorganize agencies. Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee (SBC) held a hearing on modernizing the U.S. financial regulatory system where Paul Volcker presented the Group of Thirty report.

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing where interested stakeholders were given an opportunity to comment on H.R. 977, the Derivatives Markets Transparency Act legislation. The House Agriculture Committee approved a revised version of this bill. The legislation has been referred to the HFSC.

On market structure issues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report on how to improve the management and organization of the SEC. Some of its recommendations related to the Self Regulatory Organizations (SRO) rule approval process. Also, legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives which would impose a transaction fee on both securities and futures to reimburse the Treasury for the cost of the TARP program and other programs administered by the Fed. The OCC’s Washington DC office has been meeting with Members of the House Ways and Means Committee to express its opposition to this proposal.

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