Tax & Financial Services Week Ahead, November 1, 2021

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

The House and Senate will reconvene Monday at 6:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively

What to Watch

Last week, congressional Democrats released 1,684 pages of legislative text mirroring portions of the budget reconciliation framework unveiled by President Joe Biden. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hoped the expedited movement on the reconciliation package would assuage the concerns raised by progressive Democrats and spur them to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure framework before President Biden left for Europe. 

Ultimately, although neither bill came to the floor last week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) issued a press release announcing it had “overwhelmingly voted to endorse, in principle, the entire Build Back Better Act framework.” The CPC had, until that point, opposed passage of the bipartisan infrastructure framework until legislative text of the reconciliation package had been released. With the CPC now signing off on the agreement, congressional Democrats are looking to swiftly pass both bills. 

Updated text of the reconciliation package is expected later this week. The House Rules Committee will then meet to advance the package.

On the Floor

The House is not scheduled to vote on any tax or financial services bills this week, but it could vote on the bipartisan infrastructure framework and the budget reconciliation package. 

The Senate will vote on Ben Harris to be an assistant secretary at the Treasury, Jonathan Davidson to be deputy under secretary of the Treasury and Rajesh Nayak to be an assistant secretary of labor. 

In Committee

Senate Banking Committee

On Tuesday, the full committee will hold a hearing entitled “The Libor Transition: Protecting Consumers and Investors,” during which the following witnesses will testify: 

  • Thomas Wipf, chair of the Alternative Reference Rate Committee and managing director at Morgan Stanley

  • Andrew Pizor, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center

  • Christopher Giancarlo, senior counsel at Willkie Farr & Gallagher and former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission 

  • Michael Bright, CEO of the Structured Finance Association 

Lawmakers will discuss the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) transition, a benchmark interest rate at which major global banks lend to one another for short-term loans. LIBOR will be phased out by June 30, 2023, and replaced by the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. Financial institutions and federal regulators have called on Congress to pass legislation to mitigate uncertainty caused by the transition. 

House Financial Services Committee

On Tuesday, the Financial Technology Task Force will hold a hearing entitled “Buy Now, Pay More Later? Investigating Risks and Benefits of BNPL and Other Emerging Fintech Cash Flow Products,” during which the following witnesses will testify: 

  • Dr. Kristen Broady, fellow in the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution

  • Penny Lee, CEO of the Financial Technology Association

  • Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center

  • Marisabel Torres, director of California policy at the Center for Responsible Lending

  • Brian Tate, CEO and president of the Innovative Payments Association

Lawmakers will discuss "buy now, pay later" (BNLP), which allows consumers to purchase goods and services and pay for them later, generally over a series of installments. These plans generally come with interest and late fees. The involvement of companies like The Goldman Sachs Group and Mastercard in financial technology products that offer these services have gained the attention of regulators. Lawmakers could thus discuss the effects of BNLP and potential regulatory actions to guard against its negative consequences. 

On Wednesday, the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Cyber Threats, Consumer Data and the Financial System,” during which the following witnesses will testify: 

  • Samir Jain, director of policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology

  • Robert James, president and CEO at the Carver Financial Corporation

  • Carlos Vazquez, chief information security officer at Canvas Credit Union

  • Jeff Newgard, president and CEO at the Bank of Idaho, on behalf of the Independent Community Bankers of America

The sensitive information collected by financial institutions has made the industry a top target for cybercriminals in recent years. Lawmakers could discuss recent efforts by Congress and federal agencies to protect consumer data. For instance, the latest draft of the Build Back Better Act contains funding for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish a privacy and security bureau. Lawmakers could also discuss recent efforts by the FTC to bolster consumer information protections and update breach reporting requirements for financial institutions. 

Tax Committees 

Neither the House Ways and Means Committee nor the Senate Finance Committee have any hearings or markups scheduled this week. 


Tax and Finance Rewind

In case you missed it…

  • Shortly after presenting the reconciliation framework to congressional Democrats, President Biden flew to Rome, Italy, where he endorsed the international minimum-tax agreement reached by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and nearly 140 other countries early this month. The agreement, the details of which must still be finalized, would require governments to adopt a global minimum tax of 15% and allow certain large companies’ profits to be taxed based on where they generate revenue rather than where the company is located.
  • Twenty-one House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) last week expressing concern about the bank information reporting requirements under discussion for inclusion in the Build Back Better Act. The lawmakers expressed concern about the proposed regime and asked that it “be withdrawn from further consideration in favor of a more targeted approach.”
  • The University of Pennsylvania Wharton Budget Model released an estimate of the revenue provisions within the budget reconciliation framework shortly after its release. The group found that the package would raise $1.527 trillion, rather than $1.995 trillion as lawmakers claimed. 

Upcoming Activity

Below is a complete list of all tax and financial services events in Congress, the administration and private sector for the upcoming week. 

Administration

Wednesday, Nov. 3

Securities and Exchange Commission 
Meeting of the Asset Management Advisory Committee 

Internal Revenue Service
Meeting of the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee 
Thursday, Nov. 4

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 
Meeting of the Community Bank Advisory Council 

Other

Monday, Nov. 1

Washington Post Live
The Drift: Stopping America’s Slide Toward Socialism 

Heritage Foundation
How Government Intervention is Hurting Competition in Hospital Markets, Increasing Patient Costs and Limiting Choice  

Tuesday, Nov. 2

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association 
The Intersection of Public Policy and Finance 

Wednesday, Nov. 3

Brookings Institution 
Greater Transparency for Development Finance Institutions

Brookings Institution 
Stability and Inclusivity of Stablecoins  

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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