Week ahead: Battles rage over IRS, Ex-Im bank

The week brings a jammed-pack schedule for financial services, with IRS hearings on Capitol Hill, a looming battle to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and a long-awaited economic report from the feds. 

On Monday, House Republicans will put IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on the hot seat over the missing emails of Lois Lerner. 

The fate of the emails — which the IRS says were lost in a hard drive crash — will be front and center when Koskinen testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Republicans, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), are hitting Koskinen hard over the lost emails, which they say are critical for their investigation into the targeting of Tea Party groups.

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Koskinen was raked over the coals Friday by Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, who accused him of engaging in a cover-up. The IRS chief pushed back hard on those charges and said officials did everything they could to try and recover Lerner’s hard drive.

Passions are also running high over the Export-Import Bank and the question of whether its charter should be renewed.

The House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Ex-Im critic Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), is expected to hold an Ex-Im hearing on Wednesday. The bank’s chairman Fred Hochberg, will likely testify.

Ex-Im’s reauthorization will expire at the end of September, and legislation to renew it has yet to be introduced in the House or Senate despite an aggressive lobbying push from business groups.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew this week will give his annual report to Congress on the activities of the new Financial Stability Oversight Council. He will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.

Economists will have new housing data to pore over on Monday, when the National Association of Realtors releases its monthly existing home sales report, and on Tuesday, when the Commerce Department releases its monthly new home sales report.

But the big macroeconomic driver this week will be the Commerce Department releases its third and final estimate of first quarter gross domestic product. The final number could be a political headache for Democrats, given that the economy shrank in the first quarter.

 

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