Week ahead: Trump's Labor, SEC picks face lawmakers; Fight over consumer bureau's future heats up

Week ahead: Trump's Labor, SEC picks face lawmakers; Fight over consumer bureau's future heats up
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The Senate will hold move forward with vetting two of President Trump's nominees in the week ahead, with confirmation hearings for on his picks to lead the Labor Department and Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will host Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta on Wednesday.

Acosta served on the National Labor Relations Board from December 2002 to August 2003. After that stint, then-President George W. Bush appointed him to be the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. He was the first Hispanic U.S. assistant attorney general, and would be Trump's first Hispanic cabinet member if confirmed.

Acosta was Trump's second nominee to run the Labor Department. The president initially tapped Andy Puzder, a fast-food CEO. But Puzder faced strong opposition from labor groups who criticized his record with workers at his restaurant. He withdrew himself from consideration last month after he began to lost Republican support as well for once hiring an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper.

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Acosta's won't be the only high-profile confirmation hearing on the financial world's radar.

On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will hear from Jay Clayton, Trump's nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Clayton, a partner at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, has represented corporate giants in business mergers and acquisitions, as well as public offerings. He's also helped corporations and Wall Street firms settle or fight cases brought against them by the federal government.

Outside of those hearings, it will be a busy week on Capitol Hill, as House Republicans move quickly toward a vote on their legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. That vote is slated for Thursday, as leaders work on changes to the bill to pick up support from conservative and centrist Republicans.

The Senate on Monday will also hear from Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch's confirmation hearing will likely stretch out over days and he could face tough questions from Democrats on a number of legal issues, including the president's new travel ban.

In the financial realm, the fight over the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is heating up.

The Justice Department argued in a legal brief on Friday that the president can legally fire the agency's chief.

The GOP has long complained the CFPB is too powerful and unaccountable, and answers to a director immune from sufficient congressional oversight.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit bolstered that complaint with an October ruling that the current structure of the agency is unconstitutional. A panel held 2-1 that placing a single director in charge of an independent agency hands too much power to a single person.

But the judges did not rule that the agency must be dissolved or that CFPB Director Richard Cordray should be fired.

Republicans have proposed various ways to reshape bureau, like installing a bipartisan commission or drastically reducing the power of CFPB.

The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure on Tuesday, where Republicans are likely to press for changes.

Democrats, though, have defended the agency, saying it plays a key role in protecting consumers from abuse.

  

Your week ahead:

Tuesday:

  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies: Budget hearing for the National Institutes of Health, 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2mAkKxL.
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Hearing on "The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection's Unconstitutional Design," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2mAhYZe.
  • House Oversight Committee: Hearing on "125 Billion in Savings Ignored: Review of the Department of Defense's Efficiency Study," 10 a.m.  http://bit.ly/2mAvnQV.
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions: Hearing on "Ending the De Novo Drought: Examining the Application Process for De Novo Financial Institutions," 2 p.m. http://bit.ly/2mQPMoY.
  • The American Bankers Association holds its government relations summit.

Wednesday:

  • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee: Confirmation hearing for Alex Acosta to serve as secretary of Labor, 9 a.m. http://bit.ly/2nvSoJR.
  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense: Hearing to examine defense readiness and budget update, 10:30 a.m. http://bit.ly/2nvyGxQ.
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade: Hearing on "Examining Results and Accountability at the World Bank," 10 a.m. http://bit.ly/2mAmSp7.
  • House Small Business Committee: Hearing on "Making Washington Work for America's Small Businesses," 11 a.m. http://bit.ly/2mAsEXI.
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment: Hearing on "The JOBS Act at Five: Examining Its Impact and Ensuring the Competitiveness of the U.S. Capital Markets," 2 p.m.  http://bit.ly/2m8uFdG.

Thursday:

  • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law: Hearing on the Financial Institution Bankruptcy Act, 9 a.m. http://bit.ly/2nvGpMj.
  • Senate Banking Committee: Confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton to serve as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, 9:30 a.m. http://bit.ly/2nvS3XF.
  • House of Representatives to vote on American Health Care Act.

 

Recap the week with Overnight Finance:

Monday: CBO score roils ObamaCare debate | Dems fire warning shot over border wall funding | Obstacles mount for tax reform

Tuesday: MSNBC's Rachel Maddow teases Trump tax returns | Trump to draw battle lines with budget | CEOs' optimism at highest level since 2009 | Trump trade pick heads before Congress

Wednesday: Mystery surrounds leak of Trump tax returns | Fed raises interest rates 0.25 points | Dems demand clean debt limit hike

Thursday: Inside Trump's first budget | Reaction from Congress | Budget panel advances ObamaCare repeal | Debt ceiling returns

 

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