This Week in Congress: April 19 – 23, 2010

This week Congress begins debate on financial regulatory reform, considers sanctions on Iran, and looks at D.C. statehood.

Rush hour traffic on Independence Avenue makes its way past the U.S. Capitol Building. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Rush hour traffic on Independence Avenue makes its way past the U.S. Capitol Building. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Financial regulatory reform

The Senate will be gearing up to begin debate on a financial regulatory reform bill later in the week. All 41 GOP senators have previously stated they would oppose the regulatory reform bill, citing as their main problem the bill’s financial resolution fund, which will be collected from large banks and used to cover the costs of shutting down failed financial institutions.

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on TARP fees on financial institutions with Treasury Special Inspector General of TARP Neil Barofsky testifying. On Wednesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee will mark up language to overhaul regulations on the over-the-counter derivatives market, which will then be folded into the larger reform bill.

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Executive nominations

The Senate has lined up five confirmation votes on Monday including the nomination of Lael Brainard to be undersecretary of the treasury and four other votes on judicial nominees.

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The House will appoint conferees and consider a motion to enter conference with the Senate on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act this week. The bill would require the Obama administration to institute a broad ban on direct imports from Iran to the United States and exports from the United States to Iran, and freeze the assets of Iranians who are active in weapons proliferation or terrorism.

During conference, the most likely addition would be language by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) that would sanction Iranian officials who have committed human rights abuses against civilians who have engaged in peaceful political activity.

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D.C. statehood

The House will begin debate on a bill to grant the District of Columbia a full voting representative in the House. The bill includes an additional at-large representative for Utah until the results from the 2010 Census determine which state should gain the representative permanently. The bill will also be moving with Senate-passed language removing the District’s gun control laws, which prohibit possession of semiautomatic weapons, require gun registration, and make possession of unregistered guns a criminal offense.

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