April Unemployment Rises to 9%

On Friday, the Department of Labor announced that the United States economy added 244,000 jobs in April, but the unemployment rate rose to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in March. The jobs numbers beat forecasts estimates of an expected gain of 185,000 jobs.

Bank Regulators to Testify on Dodd-Frank in Senate

The Senate Banking Committee announced that next Thursday, May 12, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin will testify on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law. The hearing is slated to focus on monitoring systemic risk and promoting financial stability and will likely include questions over a recent settlement bank regulators entered into last month with large banks over mortgage servicing abuses.

Roemer Is Newest Rumor to be Next Commerce Secretary

As current Commerce Secretary Gary Locke prepares to depart for his new assignment as Ambassador to China, former Representative and current Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer’s name has surfaced as Locke’s possible successor. Roemer was an early backer of President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Obama is also rumored to be considering current U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt for the position.

Two House Republican Committees Pass Bills to Delay Dodd-Frank

On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee voted to advance legislation to delay the Dodd-Frank Act’s rules governing the derivatives market until the end of 2012. Also on Wednesday, the House Financial Services Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee voted along party lines to approve three bills designed to restrict powers granted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its director. The three bills would replace the director envisioned by Dodd-Frank with a five-member bipartisan commission, give a council of regulators more power to veto bureau rulemaking and delay the transfer of the agency’s powers until a director is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. While the bills have support in the Republican-controlled House, they are unlikely to win needed support from Obama and Democrats who control the Senate.

Senate Investigations Committee Refers Goldman Sachs Report to DOJ and SEC

On Wednesday, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations formally referred to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an investigative report that found that Goldman Sachs misled clients about mortgage-linked securities. The results of the investigation were originally made public by the committee on April 13. The Committee Chairman, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), said that the referral sends the entire report including its conclusion, rather than just specific facts, to the agencies. Attorney General Eric Holder, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, confirmed that his department is scrutinizing the report. When the report was released, Levin said he wanted the Justice Department and the SEC to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought CDOs without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value. Levin also said at the time that federal prosecutors should review whether to bring perjury charges against Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and other current and former employees who testified before Congress.

Geithner Outlines Extraordinary Measures if Debt Ceiling Not Raised

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced in a letter to congressional leaders that if the Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by May 16, the Treasury Department will begin implementing “extraordinary measures” to keep the government from defaulting on its debt obligations. Geithner also said that the new drop dead date for the debt ceiling increase is August 2, three weeks later than the previously estimated July 8 deadline. The initial “extraordinary measures” Treasury will begin implementing if Congress does not raise the debt limit by May 16 include suspending debt issuance and stopping the issue of State and Local Government Series securities, known as SLGSs.

More Information

If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, please contact:

Matt Jessee, Policy Advisor
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