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On The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic

The Hill logo The Hill 5/21/2020 Sylvan Lane
Jerome Powell wearing a suit and tie: On The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic © Bonnie Cash On The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL - GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief: Senate Republican support for moving the next coronavirus relief bill as soon as next month is growing after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers this week that the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic could last for years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has put the brakes on further coronavirus relief negotiations, citing the budgetary impact of trillions of dollars in unanticipated spending.

But a growing group of GOP senators, which includes some of the conference's most vulnerable members in this year's elections, say they shouldn't let another month pass without significant progress on another economic relief package.

  • "I think June doesn't need to come and go without a phase four," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). He added that Republicans aren't feeling any pressure to take action because of a Democratic bill he called "outlandish," but he acknowledged Powell's words have influence.
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the chamber's most vulnerable GOP incumbents, took to the floor Wednesday to urge her colleagues not to wait any longer to pass another relief package with hundreds of billions of dollars in additional aid to state and local governments.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), another vulnerable incumbent, on Wednesday urged the Senate not to leave town for the weeklong Memorial Day recess after making little to no progress on another coronavirus relief bill.

The calls from vulnerable senators to take action are likely to be heard by McConnell, who is focused on keeping the Senate in GOP hands. The Hill's Alexander Bolton has more here.

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Rollout of new anti-redlining rules sparks confusion in banking industry: A top federal bank regulator on Wednesday released a sweeping revision of anti-redlining rules Wednesday amid reports about his pending resignation, spurring alarm and confusion among the banking industry and its critics.

  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) unveiled new rules for banks and regulators to follow under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a 1977 law that requires banks to serve low-income communities and finance loans and projects in areas historically neglected by the financial sector.
  • The OCC and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) unveiled a joint proposal in December to update CRA regulations, which are widely acknowledged by the industry and consumer advocates as outdated. The CRA regime has not been substantially revised since 1995, well before the internet fundamentally reshaped consumer banking.

  • But Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting released the final version of those rules Wednesday without the FDIC on board, and just hours after several media outlets reported that he planned to resign this week. Otting was also absent from a Wednesday call with reporters about the CRA proposal, a surprise given his intense focus on revamping the law and his history of accessibility with the media.

"He's spent every waking day of his controllership on this rule but he's not available," said OCC chief operating officer Brian Brooks, the agency's second in charge, when asked why Otting wasn't on the call. I've got more here.

Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic: Nearly half of Americans say in a new survey that they or someone in their household has lost employment income because of the coronavirus pandemic, a devastating loss that has fallen most heavily on lower income workers.

  • The Census Bureau's survey, meant to track the pandemic's impact on Americans, shows 47.5 percent of all households reporting job losses.
  • More than half of households with incomes under $50,000 say they have seen their incomes slide, as have more than half of households in which no one has attained a bachelor's degree
  • Households headed by people under the age of 55 were more likely than not to have lost income, and almost twice as many people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they had lost income. Both African American and Hispanic households were more likely than not to lose income, the report found.

The Hill's Reid Wilson breaks down the dismal data here.

States could face $765b shortfall: study: State budgets could face a $765 billion shortfall in the coming three years, according to a study from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • The CBPP report said it will be crucial for the federal government to provide aid to states, which are required to balance their budgets and can't run up deficits like the federal government.
  • Michael Leachman, CBPP's vice president for state fiscal policy and author if the study, estimated states will face a $600 billion deficit even taking into account various state "rainy day" funds that could be used.

"Without substantial federal help during this crisis, they very likely will deeply cut areas such as education and health care, lay off teachers and other workers in large numbers, and cancel contracts with many businesses," Leachman wrote. The Hill's Niv Elis explains why here.

Senators offer bipartisan bill to create tax credit for costs of skills training: A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introduced legislation to create a tax credit for skills training costs in an effort to help people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation is being offered by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Under the bill, people who lose their jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic would be eligible to receive a fully refundable tax credit of up to $4,000 to cover the cost of training expenses incurred through the end of 2021.

The Hill's Naomi Jagoda breaks it down.


  • The government could save tens of billions of dollars by addressing 467 issues, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its annual report released Tuesday.
  • Tesla on Wednesday dropped a lawsuit against a California county that had barred the electric car company from reopening one of its factories.
  • President Trump on Wednesday signaled that he won't oppose a Senate plan to allow some Veterans Affairs health care funding to be exempted from budget caps.
  • New data from credit-reporting firm TransUnion shows that millions of Americans failed to make payments on their credit cards and auto loans in April, underscoring the economic toll that the coronavirus pandemic has leveled on the country.

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