Senate Set to Begin Debate on New Jobs Bill
Soon after Senate passage of the first “jobs” bill, on Friday it was announced that the Senate had reached an agreement to begin consideration of a second “jobs” bill on Monday, March 1. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus is expected to offer a substitute amendment which will include the remaining items from the original Baucus/Grassley bill, namely extensions to tax credits, pensions amortization, unemployment insurance, COBRA, Small Business Administration stimulus extensions, state Medicaid aid, satellite television reauthorization, and a delay of cuts to physicians’ Medicare reimbursements.
White House Unveils New Rules on Financial Advisors
On Friday, Vice President Biden unveiled the annual report of the Middle Class Task Force which included new proposals designed to shield workers from potential conflicts of interest by financial advisers. Under the proposed rule, financial advisers may give advice only if they do not receive a commission for directing investments to funds with which they are affiliated. The rules will be available for public comment until May 5. The Department of Labor will then issue a final rule, which would apply to all financial institutions that both provide investment options such as 401(k)s to employers and offer financial advice to their employees
Geithner Pushes for Consumer Protection in Financial Reform Legislation
On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with leading executives from the Chamber of Commerce, Private Equity Council, Financial Services Roundtable, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers Association, Financial Services Forum, Managed Funds Association and SIFMA regarding the financial regulatory reform legislation currently pending in Congress. According to sources, Geithner reiterated that the Administration’s strong support fora new consumer protection entity with rulemaking and enforcement authority in the legislation. However, sources also said Geithner is no longer insisting on the creation of a stand-alone consumer protection agency and is open to having the new consumer regulator inside the Treasury Department. In response to this shift, the Chamber of Commerce announced this week it would oppose the new agency whether it becomes a stand-alone entity or if it is within an existing department.