Russia trade bill stalls in Congress as senators quarrel over sanctions
A bill ending normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus hit a snag in the Senate this week as a prominent Republican sought to attach language banning Russian oil imports. It's the latest example of how Congress has found it difficult to pass legislation dealing with the crisis in Ukraine.washingtonpost.com
Leak of billionaires' tax data draws GOP outcry over privacy
Republicans in Congress are alarmed by the leak of confidential IRS data to ProPublica that has enabled the investigative news organization to reveal that famous billionaires including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg paid little in U.S. income tax at times.
Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger announces reelection campaign
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who was attacked by former President Trump and several other Republicans for rejecting false claims about the 2020 election, announced Tuesday that he is running for reelection in 2022, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Why it matters: The embattled incumbent faces a strong primary challenge from Trump-endorsed Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.). If he wins the Republican nomination, he may face a rising state Democratic star Bee Nguyen and an electorate energized by Republican efforts to restrict access to voting in the state.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Context: Raffensperger refused to overturn the state's 2020 election count, and as a result, has been criticized by multiple fellow Republicans who believe he did not do enough to defend Trump.Raffensperger's office confirmed in March that it is investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the state's election, including a January phone call between Trump and Raffensperger during which the former president asked him to "find" enough votes to flip the result.What they're saying: During a speech Tuesday, Raffensperger said the rule of law is the most essential element in American democracy, according to AJC.“Now I’ve lived it and I can tell you it’s very important to the very fabric of society and us as Americans,” he said. “When the time came to choose I had to make a decision. And I came down on the side of the rule of law.”More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freenews.yahoo.com
Powell defends Fed's consideration of climate change risks
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday defended the central bank’s increasing scrutiny of the impact climate change could have on banks, in the wake of criticism by Republican members of Congress that by doing so the Fed is overstepping its mandate.
Lawmakers: Require nursing homes to disclose vaccine data
Nursing homes have to publicly disclose their vaccination rates for flu and pneumonia, but theres no similar mandate for COVID-19 shots. Nursing homes have been required since last May to regularly report cases and deaths among residents and staff to the government. Nursing homes are again allowing loved ones to visit, and hugs are included. The main nursing home industry trade group, the American Health Care Association, says it supports disclosure of vaccination data. Wyden and Crapo said current government policy that encourages nursing homes to voluntarily report vaccination data to the government has only led to “limited participation by the industry.”The government should require nursing homes to break down vaccination data by race and ethnicity, given disparities in vaccine acceptance.
Biden getting 1st shot at making mark on federal judiciary
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo the Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington. Barring an improbable expansion of the Supreme Court, Biden won’t be able to do anything about the high court’s entrenched conservative majority any time soon. That’s because Republicans who controlled the Senate in the final two years of the Obama White House confirmed relatively few judges. Biden already has pledged to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court if a seat opens up. But some Republicans and conservative groups are wary about what Democrats might try to do now that they control Congress and the White House.
Yellen's encore: Lending economic heft to Biden's virus plan
“Yellen is uniquely poised," said Brian Deese, director of Biden’s National Economic Council. "She has as much experience and expertise of addressing the challenges of our time as any living economic policymaker today. AdYellen juggled parenting with her work as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1980s, helping to build her son’s pinewood derby car as a colleague fed economic data into a computer. It’s an argument cultivated from years of research that fully blossomed during Yellen’s time as Fed chair. She said Yellen values differences of opinion and diversity because that helps her get a fuller sense of the economy.
Mnuchin denies trying to limit Biden's economic options
Mnuchin on Friday, Nov. 20 denied that he is trying to limit the choices President-elect Joe Biden will have to promote an economic recovery by ending several emergency loan programs being run by the Federal Reserve. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied on Friday that he is attempting to limit President-elect Joe Biden's options for reviving the pandemic-damaged economy by ending several emergency loan programs being run by the Federal Reserve. After initially objecting to the move, which will end the Fed’s corporate credit, municipal lending and Main Street Lending programs as of Dec. 31, the Fed softened its stance. Private economists also argued that Mnuchin's decision to end the emergency loan facilities represents an economic risk. The future of the Main Street and Municipal Lending programs has taken on greater importance with President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Virus spreads on panel handling Supreme Court nomination
Lee, who did not wear a mask at the White House event, said he had “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies." "We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there may be more," tweeted Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Blackburn said she tested negative after the event. Graham was not at the White House on Saturday but sees Trump frequently. He feels healthy, hasn’t exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms, and has tested negative.
Too risky? Fed pressed to expand aid to some businesses
Lawmakers are pressing the central bank to deliver more aid to struggling small and mid-sized businesses. And now many lawmakers are asking the Fed to expand its lending to small and medium-sized businesses, by allowing companies to offer assets such as commercial properties as collateral. The decision is on the doorstep of Fed Chairman Jay Powell and Steven Mnuchin, the Trump administrations treasury secretary. Its risky because it can be hard for the Fed to accurately appraise assets right now, he told The Associated Press. If it makes riskier loans, the Fed may be seen as propping up teetering zombie businesses that could default on payments.
Senate panel now likely to back questionable Trump Fed pick
The committee's support would move Shelton's nomination to the full Senate, which would have until the end of the year to confirm or reject it. Late Monday, Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said he would support Shelton's nomination, essentially guaranteeing that she would win the votes of all 13 GOP senators on the committee. Toomey said he would support Shelton after she had reassured him that she would not seek to lower the value of the dollar. Since Shelton's hearing in February, the coronavirus pandemic has plunged the U.S. economy into its worst downturn since the Depression. In addition to Shelton, Trump has nominated Christopher Waller, research director at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, for a second vacancy on the seven-member Fed board.
U.S. Senate races to agree on massive coronavirus relief package
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Saturday scrambled to complete a deal on a $1 trillion-plus bill aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemics economic fallout for workers, industries and small businesses. The past two days of intense bipartisan talks are very close to a resolution, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who intends to hold a vote to pass the sprawling package on Monday. He said he has asked committee chairmen to produce final language for the bill by late Saturday. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who met twice on Saturday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, agreed that progress was being made. The prospective legislation already includes $58 billion in loans and loan guarantees for passenger airlines and air cargo carriers.feeds.reuters.com
Senate cannabis hearing shows challenges to rewriting pot laws despite growing support in Congress
A much-hyped congressional hearing on easing cannabis banking restrictions served as a reminder Tuesday that reforming pot laws remains an uphill battle in Congress despite growing bipartisan support among lawmakers. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hosted a hearing titled "Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives." They urged lawmakers to change federal laws to give the budding industry access to traditional financial services. Democrats on the committee said they understood the challenges cannabis companies faced because of the disconnect between federal and state laws. Crapo attributed the absences to conflicting hearings, including a Senate Finance Committee hearing and a Senate Judiciary Committee.cnbc.com
Bitcoin falls over 11%, tumbling below $10,000 after Libra hearing
Copyright 2019 CNN(CNN) - Bitcoin investors are concerned that lawmakers' pressure on Facebook's Libra could ripple throughout the cryptocurrency market. The price of Bitcoin had fallen more than 11%, to around $9,590, by the end of a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libra Tuesday morning. Now, lawmakers in the United States are calling for increased or clarified regulations for the cryptocurrency market as a whole. "That's going to help the United States compete in the blockchain sector." Bitcoin's price may continue to falter this week as Libra faces another hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
Facebook's head of Libra crypto project tells Senate it needs help from governments and regulators
Facebook's David Marcus on Tuesday responded to questions from the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, saying the company needs governments, central banks and regulators involved to properly launch its Libra cryptocurrency. Marcus is the head of Facebook's Calibra digital wallet that will be used to store Libra. The House Financial Services Committee will hold its own hearing focused on Libra on July 17. U.S. lawmakers have spoken out about their concerns with Libra since Facebook's announcement of the cryptocurrency in June. On July 2, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) called on Facebook to halt the implementation of Libra and Calibra.cnbc.com