Though Liberals Carp at Chained CPI, Pelosi Says She Could Live With It

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 2:20 pm

Many of what would be described as the liberal left of Congress have weighed in against using the chained CPI to calculate cost of living increases in Social Security benefits. Here’s a representative sample from Sen. Jeff Merkley: We had an election, and the voters sent a message to Congress to focus on jobs and [...]

Republicans and Democrats Speak Out Against “Too Big to Jail” HSBC Case

By: Monday December 17, 2012 8:30 am

We now have bipartisan anger at the decision to hold HSBC and its executives harmlessfor years of money laundering and facilitating the culture of Mexican drug cartels. In fact, only the shareholders will pay, and not all that much, what amounts to five weeks’ worth of profits for the bank. The certainty of not being [...]

Senate Passes Amendment to Withdraw From Afghanistan at “Steady Pace”

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 2:39 pm

The Senate, in an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, accepted a measure written by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) calling for a continued drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, at a “steady pace” through the end of 2014, and a close to all combat operation “at the earliest date” possible. The news here [...]

Reid Urges End to Obstruction, But Only Reforming the Filibuster Will Do It

By: Wednesday November 7, 2012 9:15 am

Jon Tester has been called the winner of the Senate election in Montana. This leaves the North Dakota race as the only one uncalled, and there, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp leads by 3,000 votes with all ballots counted. So the likely outcome is a Heitkamp win, and a 55-45 majority for Democrats (putting independents Angus King [...]

Merkley, Levin Call Out Obstructionist Regulators Holding Up Volcker Rule

By: Thursday October 25, 2012 10:43 am

Almost four months after the deadline passed on finalizing the Volcker rule, the firewall on most types of proprietary trading set up between investment and commercial banks, the regulators tasked with writing the rule are no closer to a resolution. The Treasury Department last promised that the rule would get written by the end of [...]

In Year Six of Foreclosure Crisis, Depressingly Slow Moves Toward Solutions

By: Thursday October 4, 2012 8:45 am

Behind the scenes of last night’s debate – well behind – is a foreclosure crisis that has entered its sixth straight year. This is another fire that has not been put out. The only approach in the debate to even talking about this fire was a brief discussion by Gov. Romney about qualified residential mortgages, [...]

Banks Want Another Account to Disguise Their Risky Trades

By: Wednesday August 29, 2012 12:58 pm

Whither the Volcker rule? After a flurry of discussion about it in the wake of JPMorgan Chase’s Fail Whale trades, we’ve heard significantly less of late. In fact, regulators blew through a July deadline on finalizing the Volcker rule. The last word we had was that the deadline was pushed back to the end of [...]

Merkley’s Rebuilding American Homeownership Plan Gets Economist Support

By: Monday August 13, 2012 10:58 am

Jeff Merkley’s HOLC-type plan for mass refinancing of underwater borrowers is not a panacea for this foreclosure crisis, but it certainly would help us prevent the next one, and without the legal implications that could trip up an eminent domain scheme. Ending the persistent problem of underwater borrowers would not only stabilize the housing market [...]

When Gridlock Works: Cybersecurity Bill Stuffed, for Now

By: Thursday August 2, 2012 11:06 am

The Senate, unable to come up with a schedule for amendments, blocked the cybersecurity bill today in an outcome that, despite being a result of Republican obstruction, satisfied Internet activists who had been urging a no vote. You can see from the roll call that this was generally a partisan vote. The backstory is that [...]

FHA Short Refi Program Has Helped Under 1,500 Borrowers in Almost Two Years

By: Monday July 30, 2012 1:55 pm

In discussing the potential options for immediate implementation of Jeff Merkley’s HOLC-type plan for current, underwater homeowners, Mike Konczal reveals a pretty amazing stat that says a lot about the relative seriousness with which the Treasury Department and other federal agencies have attacked the foreclosure crisis thus far: The report notes three potential homes for [...]

Geithner Gives Thumbs-Up to Merkley’s HOLC-Like Plan

By: Thursday July 26, 2012 1:04 pm

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave a fairly strong endorsement to Jeff Merkley’s plan to set up an Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) type authority to purchase and refinance current underwater mortgages, and plans to work with him to set up pilot programs by the end of the year. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee today, [...]

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