The President has signed a continuing resolution to keep the government running until December 23. House and Senate leaders have agreed on a framework for omnibus funding legislation. Lawmakers and staff spent this weekend writing in hopes that legislation releases it today, with Senate votes on Tuesday and/or Wednesday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has said the House should be prepared to start voting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, at the earliest, and will be in session for at least two legislative days.
House Republicans warn Chopra of more intense oversight
Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, appeared at oversight hearings of the and the . On the House side, it was the last hearing to be led by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), and after incoming Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) commended Chairwoman Waters and thanked her for their work together, he told Director Chopra he could expect to be appearing before the Committee much more frequently next year. Republicans, who agree with the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that the CFPB’s funding structure is unconstitutional, blasted Chopra for sidestepping the Administrative Procedures Act by enforcing guidance instead of promulgating rules, and for imposing new requirements through the examiners’ manual, rather than through rulemaking. Chopra, for his part, called on Congress to protect the neutrality of the payments system, and asked lawmakers to enact a data privacy framework. He also said he was considering new rulemaking under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to address data collection and sharing by online vendors and data brokers.
SEC proposes Regulation Best Execution
As expected, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted last Wednesday to propose . While the National Association of Securities Dealers promulgated its own best execution rule in 1968, the SEC’s Regulation Best Execution would be the first federal regulation on execution standards. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said the rule had become necessary because “equities often trade on off-exchange dark venues that have different models and are less transparent,” and raise questions about conflicts of interest. The proposal is open for comment until March 31, 2023, or 60 days after the proposal appears in the Federal Register.
FinCEN proposes rules on access to beneficial ownership information
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published a to govern access to and protection of beneficial ownership information reported under the Corporate Transparency Act. Under a rule finalized in September, most corporations and limited liability companies must file beneficial ownership reports with FinCEN. FinCEN will develop a secure cloud-based information technology system to collect and manage beneficial ownership reports, starting on January 1, 2024, when the rule takes effect. The rule proposed would limit access to this information to US and foreign law enforcement officials for specific purposes; to financial institutions for purposes of due diligence; to federal regulators acting in a supervisory capacity; and to the US Treasury itself. FinCEN could also disclose this information to federal agencies for national security purposes. Comments on the proposed rule are due by February 14, 2023.
FHFA roundtables discuss Home Loan Bank membership requirements
The Federal Housing Finance Agency continued its series of roundtables on “” this week with sessions in Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Baltimore session focused on service to communities of color and efforts to close the racial wealth gap. Session in Philadelphia discussed membership eligibility and requirements, collateral, and safety and soundness. A major topic at both meetings was whether and how independent mortgage companies and other nonbanks might be allowed to join a Federal Home Loan Bank, and what they might use as collateral. These roundtables will continue in 2023.
Interior Department is hiring for infrastructure
At a , Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) an “energy security package,” critical to national security. He expressed concern that the Department has already missed some of the law’s aggressive deadlines for new permitting rules. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau acknowledged that they’re running behind, but said that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) will propose rules for comment next year on granting leases, easements, and rights of way to the Outer Continental Shelf for long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide. The Department is scrambling to hire the staff the law requires for the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Finding qualified engineers and hydrologists has been a challenge, as is the cost of living in several regions. The Department’s website has a that highlights areas of investment and includes job listings.
The Confirmations, Nominations, Departures
The Senate Banking Committee voted to advance the nominations of the Honorable Martin Gruenberg to be Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Travis Hill to be a member and Vice Chairman of the FDIC, Jonathan McKernan to be a member of the FDIC Board, and Dr. Kimberly McClain to be Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) elected Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) as its Chair for the 118th Congress. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) will be Deputy Chair, Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) will be CHC Whip, Representative-Elect Andrea Salinas (D-OR) will be the Caucus’s Freshman Representative, and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM), and Representative-Elect Gabe Vasquez (D-NM) will be Vice Chairs.
The Week Ahead
Although Congress will be voting this week — and maybe even, heaven forbid, the week after that — this is the last Golden Apple of 2022. Thanks to all of you for reading along this year. We’ll be back on Friday, January 6, with reports of the 118th Congress’s plans.
December 19 at 3:00 p.m. The Senate will convene to consider the nomination of Martin J. Gruenberg to be Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The Ellis Insight
Jim Ellis on Political News
Primary Schedule: Apparently, the Democrats haven’t quite settled on the 2024 primary schedule due to objections from certain party leaders about South Carolina being moved to the number one position. President Biden made a specific schedule change suggestion involving several states that the initial Democratic National Committee policy panel approved. The plan called for South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan, in that order, being allowed to host primary elections prior to a larger number of states voting on Super Tuesday in early March.
Now, it appears that a move potentially involving Georgia, Nevada, or North Carolina ultimately becoming the first state on the Democratic calendar could potentially alter the not-yet-adopted presidential primary voting schedule. Therefore, while it looked as if the Biden suggestions were headed for full DNC adoption, such might not be the final decision.
USA Today Poll: Suffolk University, polling for USA Today (12/7-11; 1,000 US registered voters; 374 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) leading both President Biden and ex-President Donald Trump in their latest published survey.
The general election data that finds DeSantis topping President Biden, 47-43%, is the more legitimate number. The Republican primary result, that tested only 374 individuals nationally and shows DeSantis holding a huge 56-33% advantage over Trump, should be discarded because it is not statistically sound.
The Morning Consult organization also released a survey, this with a much greater sample size (12/9-11; 4,215 self-identified Republican voters; online) and arrived at an opposite conclusion vis-à-vis the hypothetical Republican nomination battle. Including many candidates, Morning Consult finds Mr. Trump holding a 49-31% lead over Gov. DeSantis, with former Vice-President Mike Pence recording 8%. All other candidates posted a preference factor of 2% or less.
Texas: According to a Texas-based Republican pollster, Sen. Ted Cruz is in strong shape among prospective GOP primary voters for renomination, but not for a presidential campaign. The CWS Research firm recently conducted a Texas poll (11/28-29; 860 TX likely 2024 Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system and online) that sees the Senator posting a strong 81% renomination score, but only records 3% support for another presidential bid.
Arizona: Clearly preparing for a re-election campaign while her standing before the Democratic Party electorate is poor, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) announced that she is leaving the party and will represent Arizona as an Independent. Little will change in terms of her voting record, but the campaign strategy completely transforms for all involved.
Not having to worry about re-nomination, Sen. Sinema will advance directly into the general election assuming she can obtain valid registered voter petition signatures from 45,000 Arizonans. She can begin signature gathering right away, so even this large number should be attainable over such a long duration.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), who had been rumored as a Sinema Democratic primary challenger, continues to move forward with his Senate plans. While admittedly convening a Senate planning group, the Congressman says he will not formally decide about running until after the first of the year. Republican Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb also confirms he is considering entering the Senate GOP primary.
Apparently, Rep. Gallego is not the only Arizona Democratic Congressman considering a run for the Senate. According to a report from the Daily Kos Elections site, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix), who served six years as Mayor of Phoenix and nine years on the Phoenix City Council before being elected to the US House in 2018, has conducted a statewide US Senate poll. If he were to run in what would now be an open US Senate Democratic primary since new Independent incumbent Sinema will advance directly into the general election, a tough battle could develop in an August 2024 primary between the two Phoenix-based congressional Democrats.
Rep. Stanton was re-elected in November with a 56-44% margin against a credible Republican, businessman Kelly Cooper. This, after his district was changed from a D+15 to a D+1 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization calculations meaning he rather impressively exceeded expectations.
Regardless of who decides to run, the 2024 Arizona Senate race will be another contest attracting huge national attention. Sen. Sinema’s move to the Independent ballot line increases her chances of winning, but she is certainly no lock to claim a second term in the next election.
California: California Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont), who was just elected to a fourth term in the House, said he would consider running for the Senate in 2024 if incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), who will be 91 years of age at the time of the next election, decides to retire as expected.
Rep. Khanna further indicated that he would more than likely seek re-election in 2024, but the door is clearly open to him exploring a Senatorial run in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic battle should the seat open. The Congressman has been a strong fundraiser, averaging a total receipts figure of over $4 million per election cycle for his four successful congressional campaigns along with $5+ million remaining in his federal account, so he would have the financial base to begin a statewide run.
Virginia: For a Senate race that appears safe in this early part of the 2024 election cycle, the Virginia contest is surprisingly already drawing a great deal of candidate interest. It’s unlikely that any of the five Republicans and one Democrat who have announced their candidacies can defeat Sen. Tim Kaine (D), but we are at least assured of seeing a multi-candidate Republican nomination battle.
Of the five announced candidates, only two, financial advisor and retired Army officer Eddie Garcia and attorney and Navy veteran Chuck Smith, seem credible enough to become potentially viable candidates.
CO-3: The mandatory recount in Colorado’s 3rd District is complete, and the final tally confirms Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Silt) close victory over former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D). The recount changed only four votes to the original tally, thus making Rep. Boebert’s margin of victory 546 votes. Mr. Frisch had conceded the election weeks ago, but Colorado election law mandated the recount because the two candidates were separated by less than ½ a percentage point. The Democratic nominee says he is open to seeking a re-match in 2024.
VA-4: Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has surprisingly scheduled the special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) for February 21st and set a December 23rd deadline for the parties to select nominees. With Democrats certain to hold this seat in the special election, it was thought Gov. Youngkin would delay a bit longer, possibly to early April, in order to give the Republicans a further one-seat edge in the House party division count.
The Democratic nomination battle, which will likely determine the next congressional member, is now scheduled for December 20th, giving the candidates only a week to campaign. The original field was comprised of state Sens. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Joseph Morrissey (D-Richmond), Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), and two minor candidates. Mr. Bagby, however, just dropped out of the race and endorsed Sen. McClellan.
Republicans see four candidates coming forward: two-time congressional nominee and pastor Leon Benjamin, former advertising executive Derrick Hollie, ex-Mecklenburg School Board member Dale Sturdifen, and frequent candidate Ron Wallace. Democrats are heavily favored to retain the seat.
As announced, Democrats will hold their “firehouse primary,” that is, an election with few polling places scattered throughout the district, Tuesday, December 20th. The local Republicans are moving even quicker. They will have people vote in their firehouse primary this Saturday, December 17th.
The schedule is ridiculously short and does not give the candidates time to campaign nor the voters an adequate ability to know who is running and where to vote since the polling places in a firehouse primary are very scarce.
Indiana: First-term Hoosier State Sen. Mike Braun (R) made his obvious intentions to run for Governor official with his formal announcement. He will be a strong favorite for the Republican nomination, which gives him the inside track in the general election, though he will have primary competition from Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and venture capitalist Eric Doden.
There is a good possibility that his Democratic opponent will be former US Senator and current Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly. Ironically, this would set a re-match between the two men from the 2018 Senate race, a campaign that Mr. Braun won with a 51-45% victory margin. The Braun announcement now sets into motion a competitive open Senate campaign that will likely feature a crowded Republican primary.
Louisiana: While Sen. John Kennedy (R) says he will make a decision about running for Governor after the first of the year, he continues to release polling data showing him holding a lead against a field of prospective open seat 2023 gubernatorial candidates.
His latest survey, again from Torchlight Strategies (12/6-9; 861 LA likely 2023 gubernatorial election voters; live interview and text), projects Sen. Kennedy to be holding a 42-22-14% lead over state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) and Attorney General and former US Congressman Jeff Landry (R) in what will be an October 14th jungle primary. In potential runoff pairings, which would be scheduled for November 18th of next year, Sen. Kennedy would lead AG Landry 46-21% and Secretary Wilson by a much larger 58-27%.
State and Local
Chicago: Though the poll is just about a month old, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 just released their Impact Research study of the impending Chicago Mayor’s race. The survey (11/10-17; 700 likely Chicago local election voters; live interview and text) found US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) leading Mayor Lori Lightfoot 25-18% within a field of nine candidates. The data suggests the two would advance to an April 4th runoff election from the non-partisan February 28th election.
In the hypothetical runoff, Rep. Garcia would lead Mayor Lightfoot by a whopping 55-25% margin. The controversial Mayor posts very poor job approval ratings, with 68% disapproving of her performance in office. She received positive ratings only from the black community, and even there registered just a 50% favorable score. A total of 84% of white voters and 72% of Hispanics disapprove of how she has handled her mayoral duties.
Massachusetts: Outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has accepted a new position that takes him both out of politics and the private business sector. Beginning in March, he will become the new President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Now that football is administered through the College Football Association, the NCAA has much less influence over college athletics domain. His biggest challenge in the new position is making sure the organization does not lose control over the annual national college basketball tournament, which is the NCAA’s largest current event.
West New York, NJ: Though New Jersey Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) is retiring from the House of Representatives this year after serving eight terms, he is apparently not finished with elective politics. Reports suggest that Mr. Sires will soon announce his candidacy for Mayor of West New York, one of the elected positions he held before winning his seat in Congress.
Mr. Sires served as Mayor from his original election in 1995 until he won the US House position in 2006. Beginning in 2001, he was also an elected member of the New Jersey state Assembly, where he became Speaker in 2002.