Almost since the day Barack Obama was sworn in, Wall Street has been warning about the catastrophic consequences of his presidency on its industry and, by implication, on the economy and society beyond. Last year, their house organ, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, called the president “a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society.” Steven Schwartzman of the Blackstone Group compared his efforts to raise taxes on private equity firms to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. And if the president wins re-election this fall, “we might as well leave the country,” one billionaire hedge funder proclaimed on CNBC earlier this year.
But Wall Street likes nothing if not winners, and now that Mr. Obama seems more of a favorite in November and the sharpest GOP strategists caution that taking over the Senate remains a longshot, attention among the titans of finance has turned to their last bulwark against runaway regulation: the House of Representatives.
The crux of the concern is the House Committee on Financial Services, through which some of the most critical regulatory legislation, including Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, has passed over the past decade. Because even if Republicans retake the White House, or snatch the Senate away from Democratic hands, it may not matter much for Wall Street if the House flips from Republican to Democrat and the House Banking Committee ends up in the hands of Maxine Waters, the 17-term Democrat from South-Central Los Angeles.
Wall Streeters say that the prospect of Ms. Waters at the helm of the Financial Services Committee could actually make them regret chasing Barney Frank—who was slated to retake the committee before he abruptly announced his retirement this year—out of Congress.
“Just the name,” said one financial industry lobbyist, “sends shivers up the spine.”
House of Representatives
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was on hand for President Barack Obama’s trip to New York City visit last week and she shared her thoughts about the presidential visit with The Politicker.
“I thought he was inspiring, he has a record to run on, the enthusiasm, I went to two events with him, was deep and strong,” Ms. Maloney said. “When he made the comparison of where we were three years ago to where we are now, I told him we should have a bumper sticker that just says Osama bin Laden dead, American auto industry hiring and exporting. It shows the tremendous reversal in a lot of ways.”
Several members of New York City’s Congressional delegation released an “It Gets Better” video today in an effort to stop Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth from committing suicide. Congressmen Jerry Nadler, Joe Crowley, Ed Towns, Eliot Engel and Jose Serrano and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney all appeared in the video.
All of the members Read More
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is the latest lawmaker to criticize the House for holding a hearing on President Barack Obama’s controversial contraception coverage rule without including any women on the opening panel. In an email sent to supporters today, Ms. Gillibrand said she was “outraged” by the absence of female speakers at the House oversight committee hearing.
“I don’t know about you but I was outraged yesterday when the House held a hearing on birth control, without including a single woman on the opening panel,” she wrote.
New York may be losing two Congressional districts this year, but Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who announced his intentions to run for recently-elected Congressman Bob Turner’s district today, told The Politicker he’s confident Mr. Turner’s seat won’t be among them. His sentiments are echoed by Shelly Silver, who said he’d like the district to be kept around, and who, as Assembly Speaker, has as much say on what the final map will look like as anyone.
The conventional wisdom has long been that Mr. Turner’s Queens-based district would be chopped up and handed to the surrounding Representatives. However, if the district is kept largely intact, some of those surrounding seats could easily be significantly impacted.
With relatively anemic growth in Queens and Nassau counties compared to the rest of the state, it could be very difficult to avoid eliminating at least one district in the region. Although there are nine Congressional districts touching either of those two counties, some of them are particularly challenging or impossible to erase.
The two minority-majority districts, belonging to Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Gregory Meeks, are likely protected by federal law (and wouldn’t really be possible to eliminate anyway).
Members of New York City’s Democratic Congressional delegation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Joe Lhota gathered at Grand Central Terminal today to call on House Republicans to cease moving forward on a bill that would strip transit agencies across the country of needed funding.
“We have people shooting dice with the economy of the City and State of New York,” said Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel, the dean of the New York delegation. He added that the bill was a cynical attempt to divide urban from rural America.
“There is no agenda that they have. Every time this issue comes up they try to take away. First just because it is the City of New York, and second, because they have a majority now, they are taking advantage of us.”
Newspaper publisher Tom Allon has raised approximately $120,000 for his mayoral bid since he launched his campaign. A source familiar with the campaign told The Politicker Mr. Allon received contributions from about 300 people including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
According to reports out of Washington today, President Barack Obama is planning to bypass the Senate and appoint Richard Cordray to new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
Many Republicans not only do not want to see Mr. Cordray appointed–especially during a recess appointment–they do even think that the agency should exist at all.
Count among those Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm.
“President Obama’s announcement to make a sham recess appointment for Richard Cordray to head the controversial CFPB shows his complete disregard for the checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution,” the freshman lawmaker said in a statement. “Knowing he lacks the support from Senate Republicans to confirm Corday, he has changed the rules in his favor and sets a dangerous precedent that will give him carte blanche to appoint whomever he pleases, whenever he pleases.”
John Liu seems determined to power through his federal investigations, and to follow through with his plan to run for mayor.
Shelly Silver said he wasn’t sure his conference would support casinos in New York City, a key initiative of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s.
The City Council is looking to more strictly regulate cycling in the coming year, Sally Goldenberg reports.
Michael Powell yearns for a time when Read More
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney rents out her Washington, D.C. home to a trio of her blue state Congressional colleagues–Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep.Terri A. Sewell of Alabama and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson. The Times profiled Congresswoman Maloney’s Democratic dorm in today’s paper. “The camaraderie in the house is very special,” Congresswoman Sewell said.