Business & Economy

Overnight Finance: Dems slam Ryan’s anti-poverty effort

SHELBY TEASES BANKING COMMITTEE ACTION: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said there would be no action on federal nominees until he cleared his primary. He did that last night, so The Hill asked him what we could expect from the committee now that he’s safe until the general.

“Stay tuned,” he said. “I’ll be focusing on seeing what we can evaluate and what we can move and not… say the middle of next week, we’ll have something for you.”

Banking Committee Democrats have railed against Shelby for his inaction. You can catch up here.

MORTGAGE GIANTS HEADED FOR CRISIS: Housing industry experts are sounding the alarm over the increasingly dire financial situation of the federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

{mosads}The government-controlled enterprises are hurtling toward a severe capital crunch that will leave no buffer for absorbing future losses, experts say, potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for another bailout.

But nearly eight years after the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) took control of Fannie and Freddie, Congress has yet to pass a plan that would wind them down, reduce the government’s mortgage footprint and create a new housing finance framework. The Hill’s Vicki Needham tells us what is going wrong:

DEMS SLAM PAUL RYAN POVERTY PLAN: House Democratic leaders are hammering Speaker Paul Ryan’s newly created anti-poverty task force, calling it a fig leaf designed to mask the GOP’s attacks on the poor.

The Democrats, who have long criticized Ryan’s budgets for their cuts to low-income and entitlement programs, point out that the new panel consists only of Republicans who have championed those same government-slashing proposals.

“Speaker Ryan’s new poverty task force is a sham. It is made up of only Republicans with voting records that cut funding to the very social safety net programs that combat poverty,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a top Democratic appropriator, said Wednesday during a blustery press conference outside the Capitol. The Hill’s Mike Lillis has more:


  • “If Republicans want to join Democrats in a meaningful bipartisan conversation on poverty, we welcome them. But Republicans’ tired, trickle-down agenda is no solution for struggling Americans.” –House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
  • “Speaker Ryan has spoken at much greater length than many Republicans about the importance of combating poverty. I appreciate his words. Those in poverty would appreciate his actions.” –Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Minority Whip
  • If you insist on doubling down on cruel and dangerous policies that will only make it harder for families to escape poverty, we will fight you.”–Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)

PRIVATE SECTOR ADDS 214K JOBS: Private-sector employers maintained strong jobs growth in February as the U.S. labor market shields itself from persistent global economic headwinds.

The economy added 214,000 jobs in February, up from January’s 193,000, a figure that was 12,000 lower than initially reported, according to the ADP National Employment Report released on Wednesday. Vicki Needham has more:

HAPPY WEDNESDAY and welcome to Overnight Finance, where we’re way more excited to be here than Chris Christie at last night’s Trump event. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

Tonight’s highlights include House Republicans’ tax reform principles, a call for boardroom diversity, and the end of a game of chicken.

See something I missed? Let me know at or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here:


  • House Science Committee: Hearing on the Department of Energy Oversight: The DOE Loan Guarantee Program, 9:30 a.m.
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture: Budget Hearing – Department of Agriculture, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, 10:15 a.m.
  • Senate Banking Committee: Hearings to examine regulatory reforms to improve equity market structure, 10 a.m.
  • Senate Small Business Committee: Hearings to examine the impacts of federal fisheries management on small businesses, 10 a.m.

HOUSE TASK FORCE RELEASES TAX GOALS: The mission of the House’s tax-reform task force is to “create jobs, grow the economy, and raise wages by reducing rates, removing special interest carve-outs, and making our broken tax code simpler and fairer,” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the group’s chairman said. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tell breaks down their policy aims:

DEMS PRESS SEC ON BOARDROOM DIVERSITY: Congressional Democrats are pressuring the Securities and Exchange Commission to move forward with rules that would require corporate boards to detail their diversity.

“While we applaud your decision to have SEC staff review [the issue], we are disappointed with the amount of time the SEC is taking to examine and seek public comment on this important and widely supported proposal,” the lawmakers wrote to SEC Commissioner Mary Jo White. The Hill’s Peter Schroeder explains why:

FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM CLEARS FIRST HURDLE: A bill meant to reform flood insurance with a shot of private sector innovation unanimously cleared the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, called the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, would make sure private flood insurance policies satisfy a federal mandate requiring coverage for high-risk homes and properties. Here’s why lawmakers are so high on it, from me:

REPUBLICANS SOUND OFF ON FREE SPEECH: The chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee expressed concern Wednesday that colleges are stifling students’ political speech because they are incorrectly worried that such speech could jeopardize the schools’ tax-exempt statuses.

Through provisions in the tax code, “taxpayers give financial benefits to schools based on the educational value that they offer to our society,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said at a hearing. “When colleges and universities suppress speech, however, we have to question whether that educational mission is really being fulfilled.” Naomi Jagoda takes us there:

U.S. STARES DOWN CHINA, SOUTH KOREA ON CHICKEN: Agriculture officials, congressional lawmakers and the poultry industry are battling China and South Korea over a U.S. chicken ban that was implemented after several bird flu outbreaks.

The Obama administration has been trying to convince both nations to, at minimum, relax the quarantine so that it only applies to chicken exports from the states that were affected.

The Agriculture Department told The Hill that the Obama administration is “actively working with China and South Korea to reduce trade restrictions” that were imposed because of several isolated bird flu outbreaks across the United States last year and in January. Vicki Needham breaks it down:

NIGHTCAP: New Yorkers take hot dogs seriously. See why the New York Post called Burger King’s attempt at hot dogs “a Whopper of a marketing disaster” and “the worst embarrassment in the name of horizontal meat matter since Anthony Weiner discovered Twitter.”


Write us with tips, suggestions and news:,,, and Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane,  @VickofTheHill, @PeteSchroeder, and @NJagoda.

Tags Kevin Brady Paul Ryan

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