Leading the Past Week
With both Houses of Congress officially back to start the second session of the 112th Congress, President Obama came up to the Hill and laid out an exhaustive agenda for the coming year leading up to the 2012 election. However, the conventional wisdom is that absent a few possible areas for agreement, much this agenda is D.O.A., at least until after the election, as the next ten months will be about positioning for what is widely anticipated to be the most incredibly active lame duck sessions since 1980 election. Also on the Hill last week was newly minted CFPB Director Richard Cordray who took a markedly different approach than that of Elizabeth Warren, as he responded to a barrage of questions from members of the House Oversight Subcommittee on a range of topics including his recess appointment, small business review panels and a recent CFPB/FTC MOU. Republican efforts to amend Dodd-Frank were also on display this past week as the House Agriculture Committee approved a series of six bills aimed at modifying the derivatives section of the law. Over in the Administration, in a dog bites man story, Treasury Secretary Geithner confirmed he will pursue other interests, not expecting to be asked to serve again when Obama is reelected. Finally, the Fed announced it will continue to target a zero interest rate through 2014 given continued high unemployment, and, for the first time, the central bank announced it will begin explicitly targeting inflation at 2 percent.
State of the Union
On January 24th, President Obama gave his third State of the Union address, or as Republicans viewed it, a major campaign re-election speech, where he laid out an aggressive agenda for the coming year. Among other new domestic programs, the President introduced a new Trade Enforcement Unit, corporate tax overhauls, homeowner refinancing assistance programs and a new push for increased taxes on the wealthy...
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