PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • April 19, 2018

    By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Michael D. Kans, and Rebecca L. Konst

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

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  • February 5, 2018

    By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Michael D. Kans, and Rebecca L. Konst

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

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  • January 11, 2018

    By Frank Vlossak

    Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have worked toward regulatory reform that includes the review, revision, and repeal of existing regulations, with a focus on rules promulgated by the Obama Administration. Congress has played a key role in this effort, through the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal rules finalized in the waning months of the prior Administration, as well as one rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2017.

    President Trump signed a series of executive orders in the early months of his presidency that are propelling the deregulatory efforts of federal agencies. These executive orders: set a cap limiting regulations in Fiscal Year 2017 to zero net cost; provide agencies with a framework for limiting new regulations and identifying existing rules to repeal or revise; direct review and revision or repeal of the “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the Obama Administration; and require review and reform of energy and climate-related regulations.

     

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The House will consider one bill under suspension of the rules then move to consideration of H.R. 200 – Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act. The Senate will resume post-cloture consideration of the nomination of Brian Allen Benczkowski to be an assistant attorney general.

THE HOUSE

 

Yesterday

  • Suspensions: The House agreed to suspend the rules and pass the following measures:
    • Transportation Worker Identification Credential Accountability Act of 2018:
      • H.R. 5729, amended, to restrict the department in which the Coast Guard is operating from implementing any rule requiring the use of biometric readers for biometric transportation security cards until after submission to Congress of the results of an assessment of the effectiveness of the transportation security card program;
    • Requiring the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out a study to evaluate the issues affecting the provision of and reliance upon investment research into small issuers:
      • H.R. 6139, to require the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out a study to evaluate the issues affecting the provision of and reliance upon investment research into small issuers;
    • Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act:
      • H.R. 1861, to award a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of Lawrence Eugene ``Larry'' Doby in recognition of his achievements and contributions to American major league athletics, civil rights, and the Armed Forces during World War II;
    • Options Markets Stability Act:
      • H.R. 5749, amended, to require the appropriate Federal banking agencies to increase the risk-sensitivity of the capital treatment of certain centrally cleared options, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 385 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 315;
    • Agreed to amend the title so as to read:
      • ``To require the appropriate Federal banking agencies to increase the risk-sensitivity of the capital treatment of certain centrally cleared exchange-listed options and derivatives, and for other purposes''.
    • Main Street Growth Act:
      • H.R. 5877, amended, to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to allow for the registration of venture exchanges;
    • Building Up Independent Lives and Dreams Act:
      • H.R. 5953, to provide regulatory relief to charitable organizations that provide housing assistance;
    • International Insurance Standards Act of 2018:
      • H.R. 4537, amended, to preserve the State-based system of insurance regulation and provide greater oversight of and transparency on international insurance standards setting processes;
    • Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2018:
      • H.R. 5793, to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to carry out a housing choice voucher mobility demonstration to encourage families receiving such voucher assistance to move to lower-poverty areadigess and expand access to opportunity areas, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 368 yeas to 19 nays, Roll No. 314;
    • Simplifying Disclosures for Investors Act:
      • H.R. 5970, amended, to require the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement rules simplifying the quarterly financial reporting regime;
    • Agreed to amend the title so as to read:
      • ``To require the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out a cost benefit analysis of the use of Form 10–Q and for other purposes.''.
    • Intercountry Adoption Information Act of 2018:
      • H.R. 5626, amended, to amend the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 to require the Secretary of State to report on intercountry adoptions from countries which have significantly reduced adoption rates involving immigration to the United States;
    • Strongly condemning the slave auctions of migrants and refugees in Libya:
      • H. Res. 644, amended, strongly condemning the slave auctions of migrants and refugees in Libya;
    • Agreed to amend the title so as to read:
      • ``Strongly condemning slave auctions and the exploitation of migrants and refugees as forced laborers in Libya, and for other purposes.''.
    • Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act:
      • H.R. 2259, amended, to amend the Peace Corps Act to expand services and benefits for volunteers;
    • SCORE for Small Business Act:
      • H.R. 1700, amended, to amend the Small Business Act to reauthorize the SCORE program; and
    • Small Business Innovation Protection Act:
      • H.R. 2655, to amend the Small Business Act to expand intellectual property education and training for small businesses.

 

Today

  • On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Last votes expected: 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
  • Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
    • 1) H.R. 2075 – Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act (Sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden / Natural Resources Committee)
  • H.R. 200 – Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)
  • The Rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order the following amendments:
    • Reps. Young (AK) / Graves (LA) Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Reps. Courtney / Zeldin Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Reps. Langevin / Cicilline Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Reps. Huffman / Hastings Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Reps. Frankel / Webster Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Rep. Garrett Graves Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Rep. Bill Keating Amendment #1 (10 minutes of debate)
    • Rep. Bruce Poliquin Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Rep. Lee Zeldin Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
    • Rep. Bill Keating Amendment # 2 (10 minutes of debate)
    • Rep. Matt Gaetz Amendment (10 minutes of debate)

 

THE SENATE

 

Yesterday

  • Measures Passed:
    • 100 Years of Mateship:
      • Senate agreed to S. Con. Res. 41, recognizing 100 years of the United States-Australia relationship--100 years of Mateship.
  • House Messages:
    • John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act--Motions to Instruct Conferees:
      • By 91 yeas to 8 nays (Vote No. 147), Senate insisted on its amendment to H.R. 5515, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, agreed to the request of the House for a conference, and authorized the Chair to appoint conferees on the part of the Senate, after taking action on the following motions to instruct conferees on the part of the Senate on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the bill to be instructed to insist on the inclusion in the final conference report the following motions proposed thereto:
        • Adopted:
          • By 97 yeas to 2 nays (Vote No. 148), Cornyn Motion to Instruct Conferees to insist that the conference report include language to maintain the position of the Senate regarding modernization of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, as reflected in title XVII of the Senate amendment.
          • By 97 yeas to 2 nays (Vote No. 149), Reed Motion to Instruct Conferees to (1) reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance as a community of freedom, peace, security, and shared values, including liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; (2) reaffirm the ironclad commitment of the United States to its obligations under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to the collective self-defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance; (3) establish as the policy of the United States pursuit of an integrated approach to strengthening the defense of allies and partners in Europe as part of a broader, long-term strategy using all elements of United States national power to deter and, if necessary, defeat Russian aggression; (4) call on the Administration to urgently prioritize the completion of a comprehensive whole-of-government strategy to counter malign activities of Russia that seek to undermine faith in democratic institutions in the United States and around the world, and to submit that strategy to Congress without delay; and (5) reflect the support of the United States for the rules-based international order that has ensured, and will continue to promote, an international system that benefits all nations, and for deepening and expanding alliances and partnerships to jointly work with one another on shared challenges in Europe and the Indo-Pacific Region and throughout the world.
  • The Chair appointed the following conferees on the part of the Senate: Senators McCain, Inhofe, Wicker, Fischer, Cotton, Rounds, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, Perdue, Cruz, Graham, Sasse, Scott, Crapo, Reed, Nelson, McCaskill, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine, King, Heinrich, Warren, Peters, and Brown.
  • Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act--Agreement:
    • A unanimous-consent-time agreement was reached providing that notwithstanding Rule XXII, at 12 noon, on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, the Chair lay before the Senate the message to accompany H.R. 5895, making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019; that the Majority Leader, or his designee, be recognized the make a compound motion to go to conference, and that Senate immediately vote on the motion; and that if the motion is agreed to, Senators Cassidy and Corker each be recognized to offer a motion to instruct conferees, and Senate vote on the motions in the order listed, with no further action on the compound motion, and that there be two minutes of debate between each vote, equally divided in the usual form.
  • Benczkowski Nomination--Agreement:
    • Senate resumed consideration of the nomination of Brian Allen Benczkowski, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice.
  • By 51 yeas to 48 nays (Vote No. 146), Senate agreed to the motion to close further debate on the nomination.
  • A unanimous-consent agreement was reached providing that notwithstanding the provisions of Rule XXII, at 2 p.m., on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, all post-cloture time on the nomination be considered expired and Senate immediately vote on confirmation of the nomination; and that following disposition of the nomination, Senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Paul C. Ney, Jr., of Tennessee, to be General Counsel of the Department of Defense.
  • A unanimous-consent agreement was reached providing for further consideration of the Benczkowski nomination, post-cloture, at approximately 10 a.m., on Wednesday, July 11, 2018; and that all time during adjournment, Leader remarks, and morning business count post-cloture on the nomination.
  • Nomination Confirmed: Senate confirmed the following nomination:
    • By 72 yeas to 27 nays (Vote No. EX. 145), Mark Jeremy Bennett, of Hawaii, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.

 

Today

  • The Senate reconvenes at 10 a.m. Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume post-cloture consideration of the nomination of Brian Allen Benczkowski to be an assistant attorney general. At noon, the Senate is expected to consider a compound motion to go to conference on the fiscal 2019 three-bill spending package (HR 5895). Up to three related roll call votes are possible. At 2 p.m., all post-cloture time on the Benczkowski nomination will expire and the Senate will vote on confirmation. Following disposition of the Benczkowski nomination, the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Paul C. Ney Jr., to be general counsel of the Department of Defense.
  • Nominations:
    • Brian Allen Benczkowski, of Virginia, to be an assistant attorney general
    • Paul C. Ney Jr., of Tennessee, to be general counsel of the Department of Defense.
  • Bills:
    • HR 5895 — Fiscal 2019 Appropriations Package: Energy-Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-VA

 

Hearings Covered by W&J Today

 

NTSB
Investigative Hearing : Managing Safety on Passenger Railroads

House Energy and Commerce
Improving 340B Drug Pricing Program

House Transportation and Infrastructure
Counter UAS Issues

House Financial Services
Markup

House Appropriations
Full Committee Markup – Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

Senate Commerce
Spectre and Meltdown Cybersecurity Lessons

Senate EPW
Low-Cost Federal Infrastructure Loans

House Small Business
Intellectual Property in Small Businesses/Digital Tech Industry

House Energy and Commerce
Examining Drug-Impaired Driving

House Foreign Affairs
China's Predatory Trade and Investment Strategy

House Ways and Means
Markup of Health Care Legislation

 

Notable Legislation Introduced

 

Financial Services

H.R.6324 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To require the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out a study of the direct and indirect underwriting fees, including gross spreads, for mid-sized initial public offerings.
Sponsor: Rep. Himes, James A. [D-CT-4] (Introduced 07/10/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: House - 07/10/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

H.R.6323 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To create an interdivisional taskforce at the Securities and Exchange Commission for senior investors.
Sponsor: Rep. Gottheimer, Josh [D-NJ-5] (Introduced 07/10/2018) Cosponsors: (2)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: House - 07/10/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

H.R.6322 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require issuers with a multi-class stock structure to make certain disclosures in any proxy or consent solicitation material, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-5] (Introduced 07/10/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: House - 07/10/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

H.R.6321 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To require the Securities and Exchange Commission to revise the definitions of a "small business" and "small organization" for purposes of assessing the impact of the Commission's rulemakings under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
Sponsor: Rep. Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4] (Introduced 07/10/2018) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: House - 07/10/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services

H.R.6320 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To require the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out a study of Rule 10b5-1 trading plans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Waters, Maxine [D-CA-43] (Introduced 07/10/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: House - 07/10/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

H.R.6319 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To require the Securities and Exchange Commission to carry out a study of the 10 per centum threshold limitation applicable to the definition of a diversified company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Hultgren, Randy [R-IL-14] (Introduced 07/10/2018) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: House - 07/10/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services

PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • April 19, 2018

    By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Michael D. Kans, and Rebecca L. Konst

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • February 5, 2018

    By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Michael D. Kans, and Rebecca L. Konst

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • January 11, 2018

    By Frank Vlossak

    Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have worked toward regulatory reform that includes the review, revision, and repeal of existing regulations, with a focus on rules promulgated by the Obama Administration. Congress has played a key role in this effort, through the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal rules finalized in the waning months of the prior Administration, as well as one rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2017.

    President Trump signed a series of executive orders in the early months of his presidency that are propelling the deregulatory efforts of federal agencies. These executive orders: set a cap limiting regulations in Fiscal Year 2017 to zero net cost; provide agencies with a framework for limiting new regulations and identifying existing rules to repeal or revise; direct review and revision or repeal of the “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the Obama Administration; and require review and reform of energy and climate-related regulations.

     

    Read...

    Read More

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