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Senate Banking Committee Starts Session with Dodd-Frank Grilling

Joe Mont | February 12, 2013

What better way to spend Valentine's Day? The Senate Banking Committee's first hearing of the 113th Congress, scheduled for Feb. 14, looks to be a standing room only affair, with multiple regulators called upon to offer updates on the progress, or lack thereof, in implementing mandates of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Among the witnesses scheduled to testify at Thursday's hearing, “Wall Street Reform: Oversight of Financial Stability and Consumer and Investor Protections,” are: Mary Miller, under secretary for domestic finance, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Daniel Tarullo, governor, Federal Reserve System; Martin Gruenberg, chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Tom Curry, comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Richard Cordray, director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Elisse Walter, chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Gary Gensler, chairman, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The hearing, which will be webcast, commences immediately following an executive session at 10:30 a.m.

Of particular interest may be comments made by Walter and Cordray. The former, serving as acting chairman of the SEC since the departure of Mary Schapiro, is set to be replaced by nominee Mary Jo White, a former New York prosecutor. Thus far, Walter has yet to publicly announce her future plans, or role with the SEC, once that nomination is confirmed.

As for Cordray, despite a busy year for the CFPB, its efforts may be challenged along with his legal standing to serve as director. A ruling last month by a federal appeals court found recess appointments made by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board to be unconstitutional, as Congress was technically still in session at the time. Cordray's position with the CFPB, also a recess appointment, is expected to face a similar legal challenge, even as he navigates a new, formal nomination process.

Setting the stage for Thursday's hearing was Monday's announcement of the panel's subcommittee assignments by Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID). The full list of assignments can be found here. As expected, newly elected Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, an architect of the CFPB, is among the new faces named to the subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection. Also notable is that Sen. Jack Reed remains on the committee, but will step down from its Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment, a post the Rhode Island Democrat has held since 2007.