Financial Services

Road ahead: As Congress digests Mueller conclusions, it has plenty more on its plate
House will attempt to override Trump’s veto, while Senate takes up Green New Deal

A Capitol Visitor Center employee sets up a shade umbrella last Tuesday outside the CVC entrance. The Senate and House minority parties may need an umbrella to block the shade the majorities plan to throw at them this week amid votes on the Green New Deal and overriding a presidential veto. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill spent much of the weekend waiting to find out what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III discovered about Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election. But as Congress digests the principal conclusions of his report, prepared by Attorney General William P. Barr, leaders will also try to get members to address other priorities.

Barr’s four-page letter sent to Congress on Sunday afternoon stated that Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”

Robert Mueller submits Russia report to Justice Department
Report’s delivery sets up showdown over how much public will see of it

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday delivered his report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections between the Russians and the Donald Trump campaign to Attorney General Robert Barr on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday submitted to the Justice Department the long-awaited final report on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

No more indictments are expected in the investigation, a senior DOJ official told reporters. 

Banks seek Congress’ help to block fintech path to ‘industrial’ charters
Industry group expects efforts to have bipartisan support on Hill

A bank industry group accuses financial technology firms like payment processor Square Inc. of trying to exploit a banking law loophole. (Courtesy Shutterstock)

A bank industry group is lobbying Congress to block financial technology firms, such as online lender Social Finance Inc. and payment processor Square Inc., from obtaining an obscure form of a state bank charter that would let them operate nationally with little federal supervision.

The Independent Community Bankers of America last week distributed a policy paper around Washington calling for an immediate moratorium on providing federal deposit insurance to industrial loan companies, or ILCs, which are chartered by only a few states — most notably Utah.

Photos of the week: A budget, Marie Antoinette and St. Patrick’s Day
The week of March 11 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., holds a copy of the president's budget proposal during a news conference after the Senate policy luncheons on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration’s budget for fiscal year 2020 was released at the beginning of this week with little fanfare. And President Donald Trump attended the annual St. Patrick's Day reception on the Hill on Thursday. Lawmakers then headed out of town for their March recess next week.

Here's the entire week in Washington in photos:

Spectrum auction could boot weather forecasting back to the 1970s, lawmakers warn
Appropriators call for delay of auction set for Thursday

The Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, plans to go ahead with a spectrum auction aimed at securing American leadership in 5G. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior House members, citing a potential threat to the safety of millions of people, urgently asked a federal agency Wednesday to delay an auction of radio frequency spectrum that is slated to occur Thursday.

If that spectrum is used for 5G wireless communications, as planned, it could interfere with government satellites’ ability to collect data in a nearby band — information on which accurate weather forecasts hinge, three House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen said in a letter obtained by Roll Call.

FBI HQ investigation ‘closer to the beginning than the end’
GSA delivers 2,500 documents near midnight Tuesday in partial response to House Committee request

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., prepares to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An investigation into whether President Donald Trump was involved in the decision to keep the FBI on prime Pennsylvania Avenue property is still far from over, lawmakers said Wednesday.

“We’re closer to the beginning than the end of the investigation,” said House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley following a Wednesday hearing.

Ex-Sen. Joe Donnelly Goes to K Street’s Akin Gump

Former Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is heading to Akin Gump. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Sen. Joe Donnelly, the Indiana Democrat who lost his re-election bid in November, is the latest ex-lawmaker to land on K Street.

He will join the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump as a partner on April 1, and no that’s not an April Fool’s joke, the firm’s spokesman confirmed.

Fintech industry pursues clarity on ‘token’ regulation
Advocates are finding a sympathetic ear in Congress

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, is planning to reintroduce with Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., legislation that would further define the term “digital token.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Financial technology advocates are seeking an answer from regulators on when things like digital tokens should be deemed to be securities, and they’re gaining a sympathetic ear in Congress.

Further clarity from regulators would encourage more U.S. growth in digital assets, the advocates say.

The week on Capitol Hill in 10 Photos
The week of March 4-8 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

A beam of sunlight illuminates the Portrait Monument, depicting suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, as tourists crowd the Capitol Rotunda on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The week is coming to a close on the Hill after the passage of HR1, a voting and ethics package, in the House. Don’t miss this preview of the legislative priorities that are next on House Democrats’ agendas, by reporter Lindsey McPherson. 

Also this week, Michael Cohen was once again on the Capitol campus, and the marijuana legalization push continued.

Justices break the ice, err glass, at budget hearing
Alito and Kagan make their debut before House Appropriations subcommittee

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan testify about the Supreme Court’s fiscal 2020 budget at a hearing Thursday before the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At the start of a House hearing Thursday on the Supreme Court’s budget, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. knocked over a full water glass, which shattered on the witness table with a sound that would make any foley artist proud.

“Not off to a very good start,” Alito said with a smile, holding the bottom of the broken glass. “We’re deducting that,” a member of the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee quipped from the Democratic side of the dais.