The continuing resolution (to get out of town)
This afternoon the House of Representatives, , approved that will keep the federal government operating until mid-December. The Senate approved this resolution yesterday by a more bipartisan vote of .
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has told his colleagues that the Senate will not return for floor votes until after the November elections. The House has nothing but a on its October schedule.
FinCEN finalizes beneficial ownership rule
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published its yesterday, requiring most businesses registered in the United States to report the identities of the people who actually own or control them. Effective January 1, 2024, reporting companies created before that date will have one year to file an initial report that identifies all their beneficial owners — that is, anyone who “exercises substantial control” over the company or owns or controls at least 25% of the company. The provides standards for determining who has “substantial control,” and what 25% ownership means. Once they complete their initial filings, companies must update their reports within 30 days of any changes. A fact sheet explaining the 99-page rule is here.
IIJA oversight will be a priority of a Republican House, says Graves
At what might have been the in the 117th Congress, the Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), said that the Biden administration was “not following the letter of the law” in implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and was instead using rules and guidance “to impose partisan policies.” He said that his focus “looking forward” would be oversight of the IIJA and transportation-related provisions of the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act “to ensure taxpayer funding is spent widely.” Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who is retiring at the end of this term, said he was proud of the work the Committee had done since a marathon February 2019 hearing entitled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait.”
Considering the future of the Federal Home Loan Banks
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) held the first two of three “listening sessions” this week about . A wide range of stakeholders offered their views on whether FHLB membership should be extended to nonbanks, whether the mandated contribution of 10% of System profits to affordable housing should be increased, whether the network of 11 banks was still an appropriate structure, and whether the System was even still necessary in today’s housing finance market. The listening sessions, which conclude next Tuesday, are part of a the agency announced last month. Regional roundtables will follow over the next few months. Boston University School of Law and the Brookings Institution , “The Federal Home Loan Bank System: Fit for Purpose in the Twenty-First Century?” in Washington next February. That symposium has issued a , with a deadline of November 7.
American Housing Survey has good news for homeowners, bad news for renters
The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Census Bureau released their biennial this week, with tools and data that allow for market-level analysis with a range of demographic characteristics for 25 large metropolitan areas. The Survey found a sharp increase in refinancing in a declining interest rate environment, with rising home values and a modest increase in mortgage debt. Renters, however, faced rising housing costs, to the point that housing costs the median renter almost as much as it costs the median homeowner. Rent delinquency in 2021 returned to levels similar to those before the pandemic.
Fed announces pilot program on assessing climate risks
Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo have conducted by the Federal Reserve Board to help measure and manage climate-related financial risks. The Fed will provide climate risk scenarios, and participating banks will analyze the effects of those scenarios on specific lines of business; the Fed emphasized that this will be “distinct and separate from bank stress tests.” The pilot will launch in early 2023 and should conclude by year end. The Fed will summarize and publish aggregate insights from these exercises, with no firm-specific information released.
Congress reauthorizes small business innovation programs
Yesterday the House approved that will reauthorize the through September 30, 2025. The legislation would also set new standards to ensure that award winners are moving quickly enough to commercialize technologies. Those standards will take effect in April 2023, but the Small Business Administration will be able to grant waivers for projects deemed mission-critical or related to national security.
Confirmations, Nominations, Departures
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) of Karen Chang as Chief of Staff and Samuel Frumkin as Executive Secretary, effective immediately. Both are veteran regulators. Chang joined the FHFA in April 2021 with a resume that includes service at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the White House, and the U.S. Treasury. Frumkin has been with the FHFA since 2014, and previously worked for the CFPB, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The Week Ahead in Washington
Both the House and the Senate have left town for the long pre-election recess. We’ll probably have a few odds and ends to report next week, but things should be — in the words of noted sportsman Elmer Fudd — vewy, vewy quiet.
October 4 at 2:30 pm The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s holds a virtual listening session to solicit input on the role of technology in housing finance and how the Agency can foster responsible innovation. .
The Ellis Insight
Jim Ellis on Political News
Arizona: After several mid-September polls found Republican US Senate challenger Blake Masters pulling to within the polling margin of error against Sen. Mark Kelly (D), two new surveys see the two-year incumbent pulling back ahead by a more substantial margin.
Suffolk University’s (9/21-25; 500 AZ likely voters; live interview) latest study reports a seven-point spread in the Senator’s favor, 49-42%. Marist College’s new likely voter survey (9/19-22; 1,076 AZ likely voters; live interview, text & online) found a slightly smaller Kelly lead, 50-45%. The Arizona race continues to be one to watch, especially considering the late GOP surge that occurred here in 2020.
Colorado: Emerson College tested the Centennial State electorate (9/18-19; 1,000 CO likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and found Sen. Michael Bennet (D) leading GOP businessman Joe O’Dea by a ten-point, 46-36%, margin. Republicans have tagged this race as an upset possibility, but this poll shows little weakness for the Democratic incumbent who is seeking his third full term.
North Carolina: The North Carolina Senate race has been tight for weeks, but now we see three separate pollsters all finding the race status languishing in a flat tie.
The Cygnal polling organization (9/24-26; 650 NC likely voters), Meredith College (9/20-23; 731 NC likely voters), and the Global Strategy Group (9/12-20; 800 NC likely voters) all project tied results. Cygnal sees Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) each attracting 44% of the vote. Meredith College finds both with 41%, while GSG’s total is 46% apiece. Obviously, the North Carolina Senate race is one of the closest in the nation with just over a month remaining and early voting beginning.
Pennsylvania: Several polls have been released regarding the Pennsylvania Senate race during September, and all but one has shown Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) closing on Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).
The new Marist College poll (9/19-22; 1,242 PA registered voters; 1,043 PA likely general election voters; live interview & online) sees Mr. Fetterman holding a 51-44% advantage, but the result appears to be an outlier. Five other pollsters, surveying during the September 6-24 period find the Fetterman advantage to only be slightly more than three percentage points. On the other hand, 23 Pennsylvania Senate surveys have been released since the May primary and Mr. Fetterman has been posted to a lead in all.
Utah: Polling data suggests that the Utah Senate race is the closest campaign that attracts the least national attention. A new Dan Jones & Associates survey for the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics (9/3-21; 815 UT registered voters; 786 likely general election voters) finds Sen. Mike Lee (R) ahead of Independent Evan McMullin by only a 37-34% margin. Though this poll has a very long sampling period, which adversely affects accuracy, it is consistent with some others we’ve seen of this race.
In the early part of this month, both Impact Research and Kurt Jetta, polling for the Center Street PAC, found the candidates languishing within a combined four-point range. Impact Research actually found Mr. McMullen claiming a one-point edge.
Back in April, the majority of Utah Democratic Party convention delegates voted not to field a candidate for the purpose of coalescing behind Mr. McMullin. Though he is more conservative than what most of the delegates would have desired in a candidate, they did want to see McMullin have a one-on-one shot to challenge Sen. Lee.
Washington: The Trafalgar Group (9/21/-24; 1,091 WA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) just released data that no other pollster has even remotely found. According to this most recent Trafalgar result data, Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) lead over Republican Tiffany Smiley has dropped to just two percentage points, 49-47%. Though Trafalgar has proven itself very accurate in the elections since 2016, this poll appears to be an outlier.
In the most recent surveys conducted during the Sept. 6-15 period from Public Policy Polling and Elway Research, Sen. Murray holds an average lead of eleven percentage points. Still, Ms. Smiley’s effort is the strongest we’ve seen from a Washington statewide Republican candidate this century. Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling quickly countered with a new survey of their own (9/27-28; 770 WA voters). The PPP response gives Sen. Murray a much stronger 52-40% advantage. In the August 2nc Washington jungle primary, Sen. Murray outpaced Ms. Smiley, 52-34%.
FL-22: In February, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) announced that he would leave the House before the end of the current legislative session in order to assume the leadership of the American Jewish Committee. At the time, Mr. Deutch said he would leave sometime on or around October 1. Late last week, the Congressman confirmed he will officially resign his seat before September ends.
It is unlikely that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will have the time to call a special election to replace Mr. Deutch for a probable lame duck session since Florida law dictates a relatively long voting schedule period once such an election is called. Therefore, with the party nominations being decided in the August 23 primary, the new 23rd District will remain open until the new Congress convenes on January 3, 2023.
In the open seat general election, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz (D) is favored over Republican Joe Budd in a South Florida district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+9.
MT-1: While Montana’s new western 1st District seat was drawn as a Republican CD – the FiveThirtyEight data organization projects a R+10 partisan lean – former US Representative and ex-US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (R) leads Democratic Monica Tranel by just a 43-41% count according to the latter’s internal Impact Research poll (9/14-19; 400 MT-1 likely general election voters; live interview & text).
The result is not particularly surprising considering that Mr. Zinke had a close call in the Republican primary, edging former state Sen. Al Olszewski by just a 42-40% split. Mr. Zinke’s image is his problem, according to the Impact Research survey. His favorability index stands at a poor 39:54% positive to negative. Perhaps more troubling, 55% of the poll respondents agree that Mr. Zinke is “out for himself,” and 50% characterize him as “corrupt.” The new MT-1 is a must-win for the Republicans if they are to capture the House majority.
NY-19: In August, Democrat Pat Ryan (D) won the 19th District special election against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R). Democratic strategists were claiming the result was an upset and a precursor of good things to come for their party in the 2022 general election. In actuality, President Biden carried the district by two percentage points in 2020 and the Democrats won the last two congressional elections, so declaring a Democratic victory in such a seat as an upset is a bit of a stretch.
The new 19th District, that has some additional territory stretching along the Pennsylvania border, is actually more Democratic (D+4) than the special election seat that Mr. Molinaro lost. Since Rep. Ryan decided to seek re-election in the 18th District, Mr. Molinaro has a new opponent in attorney Josh Riley (D).
Despite his loss, a new Triton Polling & Research survey (9/20-22; 658 NY-19 likely general election voters; interactive voice response system) posts Mr. Molinaro to a surprisingly large 51-42% majority. The GOP nominee winning this seat would be a huge step toward Republicans claiming the House majority with a substantial margin.
OH-1: The court-drawn Ohio congressional map was not kind to veteran Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati). The new 1st District now leans toward the Democrats with a three-point margin. The latest Impact Research internal poll for the Greg Landsman campaign (9/17-21; 506 OH-1 likely general election voters; live interview & text) gives the Democratic challenger a predicted 49-46% lead over the Congressman.
Mr. Chabot was first elected in 1994, but lost the seat in 2008. He regained it in the 2010 election, and has been re-elected in the last five consecutive elections against formidable opponents. Winning this race is critical to Republican majority prospects.
Arizona: The aforementioned new Arizona Marist College Poll (see Arizona Senate above), while posting Sen. Mark Kelly (D) to a 50-45% advantage, also finds Republican Kari Lake taking a slight 46-45% lead over Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. To a large degree, this poll must reflect similar numbers to what the Hobbs campaign is seeing, which explains her new ad pitch that sees her echoing Republican calls for income and sales tax reductions and/or elimination.
Oklahoma: At the beginning of September, the media sponsored Sooner Poll sounded the alarm bell for Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) by publishing their poll giving the incumbent only a one-point lead over Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister (D). Since the polling sample was small (402 respondents statewide), only minimal attention was paid to the results.
Yesterday, however, an Amber Integrated survey was released (9/19-21; 500 OK likely general election voters; live interview & online) that found the Governor leading Ms. Hofmeister with a similar 47-44% margin.
With two polls showing the same basic result, we can expect the Stitt campaign to unleash a major advertising blitz to strengthen his areas of weakness within the traditional Republican voter base.
Oregon: A just-released DHM Research survey (9/23-24; 600 OR likely general election voters) finds former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) taking a one-point lead over former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), with strong Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state legislator, dropping well back.
The ballot test gives Ms. Drazan a 32-31-18% edge over her two opponents. When the pollsters asked a second question just centered around the three top contenders, the ballot test actually strengthened Ms. Drazan slightly, to a 35-33-21% margin. The last time a Republican was elected Oregon’s Governor came in 1982. In terms of the state’s status perception, just 25% said that the Beaver State is headed in the right direction while 62% replied that Oregon is on the wrong track.
Texas: Another Texas gubernatorial survey was released in the Lone Star State, and it again shows Gov. Greg Abbott (R) maintaining a significant but not particularly large lead over former US Representative and short-term 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D). The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation conducted a survey of the state electorate (9/6-15; 1,172 TX likely general election voters; online) and found Gov. Abbott leading well beyond the polling margin of error in this study, 51-44%.
Since September 6, four Texas gubernatorial surveys have been commissioned from four different polling entities and they post Gov. Abbott to an advantage between five and nine percentage points. Expect this trend to continue until the final two weeks of the campaign. At that time, we will likely see the Governor pull away from Mr. O’Rourke and record his traditional 10+ point victory margin as he has in his first two terms.