The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Annual inflation cools; the latest fallout from the SVB collapse
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NEWS OF THE MORNING
Annual inflation cooled in February:
Happy C-Pi day! The Labor Department released its February numbers this morning, which showed that annual inflation cooled to 6 percent in February — a slight decrease from January’s 6.4 percent.
Last month’s 6 percent annual inflation rate marked the lowest yearly price increase since September, and it is the eighth consecutive month of decline from the apex of 9.1 percent last June.
Consumer prices did, however, rise by 0.4 percent in February.
The numbers were in line with what economists had expected. And they come one week before the Fed’s policy making committee is scheduled to meet and potentially raise rates by 0.25 percentage points, all part of the central bank’s goal of bringing inflation back down to 2 percent annually.
The Hill’s Tobias Burns looked into the data this morning.
President Biden released a statement on the consumer price index report, noting that the 6 percent annual inflation rate was “the slowest annual increase since September 2021.”
“I will continue working to lower costs for hard-working Americans so they have a little more breathing room at the end of the month,” he added.
It’s Tuesday, March 14. I’m Mychael Schnell, filling in for Cate today, with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.
Let the SVB blame game begin:
The country is continuing to reel from last week’s collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which ended with federal regulators taking over the institution on Friday. And on Sunday, news broke that state regulators seized Signature Bank in New York.
Also on Sunday, after a weekend of uncertainty in the banking industry, the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and FDIC said that all depositors would receive access to their money starting Monday, sparking a sign of relief for financial markets.
Now, congressional lawmakers are suiting up for Capitol Hill’s favorite sport — the blame game — with Democrats and Republicans alike offering their two cents on what led to the SVB collapse.
THE VIEW FROM THE LEFT:
A number of Democrats are blaming the banking deregulation bill then-President Trump signed into law in 2018 for SVB’s collapse. The measure rolled back some requirements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which Congress passed after the 2008 financial crisis.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): “Let’s be clear. The failure of Silicon Valley Bank is a direct result of an absurd 2018 bank deregulation bill signed by Donald Trump that I strongly opposed.” STATEMENT
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): “Had Congress and the Federal Reserve not rolled back the stricter oversight, S.V.B. and Signature would have been subject to stronger liquidity and capital requirements to withstand financial shocks. They would have been required to conduct regular stress tests to expose their vulnerabilities and shore up their businesses. But because those requirements were repealed, when an old-fashioned bank run hit S.V.B., the bank couldn’t withstand the pressure — and Signature’s collapse was close behind.” OP-ED
BUT, BUT, BUT: Thirty-three House Democrats and 17 Senate Democrats supported the 2018 banking deregulation bill. Check out the voter rolls for the House and Senate votes.
THE VIEW FROM THE RIGHT:
Republicans are blaming Biden’s fiscal policies, social media and wokeness for SVB’s collapse, to name a few. The House GOP conference held a conference call last night.
- Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blamed the Biden administration’s “failed” fiscal policies and rising interest rates, according to Punchbowl News.
- House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.): “This was the first Twitter fueled bank run. At this time, it is important to remain levelheaded and look at the facts—not speculation—when assessing the right path forward.” STATEMENT
- House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.): “They were one of the most woke banks.” VIDEO
Read The Hill’s Alex Bolton on how the SVB collapse is being received on Capitol Hill. Spoiler alert: memories from the 2008 financial crisis are creeping up.
NEWS ALERT: The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange commission are investigating SVB’s collapse, according to people familiar with the matter.
Warren presses ex-SVB CEO for answers:
Warren wrote a letter to ex-Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker today pressing him for answers on his role in lobbying Congress to roll back safeguards from the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
“I write following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group (SVB) to seek additional information about your successful efforts to roll back banking regulations and exempt your bank from the protections Congress enacted with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (‘Dodd-Frank’) in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis,” Warren wrote.
“These rules were designed to safeguard our banking system and economy from the negligence of bank executives like yourself – and their rollback, along with atrocious risk management policies at your bank, have been implicated as chief causes of its failure,” she added.
The Hill’s Alex Bolton has you covered on the letter.
In the White House
Biden to unveil executive order on background checks for gun sales:
President Biden is heading to Monterey Park, Calif., today, where he is set to unveil an executive order that seeks to increase the number of background checks that are conducted prior to gun sales.
The measure will direct Attorney General Merrick Garland to make sure that gun sellers “who do not realize they are required to run background checks under existing law, or who are willfully violating existing law, become compliant with background check requirements,” according to a fact sheet from the White House.
The order will also increase the use of “red flag” laws, among other tenets.
Eleven people were killed and others were injured on Jan. 21 when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in a predominately Asian American community in Monterey Park following a Lunar New Year festival.
Biden on several occasions has called for universal background checks, but congressional Republicans have not shown an interest in passing such legislation.
This executive order, according to The Hill’s Brett Samuels, is meant to move the U.S. to a system of universal background checks for all gun sales as possible without requiring legislation from Congress.
And if you want to dive into the specifics, here’s the White House fact sheet.
ICYMI: Biden drew headlines last night when he revealed that former President Carter, who is in hospice care, has asked him to deliver his eulogy when he dies.
“I spent time with Jimmy Carter, and it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough,” Biden said at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.
“He asked me to do his eulogy,” he added, before appearing to catch himself and saying “excuse me, I shouldn’t say that.”
The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has the details.
DeSantis says Ukraine is not a vital national interest:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is *still* not an official presidential candidate, but he sure is acting like one.
Last night, DeSantis revealed that he does not think Ukraine is a vital national interest — staking his position on a hot-button issue that is poised to be a key topic in the 2024 presidential election.
He disclosed his position on a questionnaire Fox News host Tucker Carlson sent to all major prospective GOP presidential candidates last week, a further sign that a 2024 bid on the horizon. Carlson read the statement on air during his primetime program.
THE STATEMENT: “While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness with our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said.
THE GOP SPLIT: The 2024 Republican field is split when it comes to support for Ukraine amid its battle against Russia, but DeSantis appears to be aligning himself with Trump.
- Former President Trump also told Carlson that opposing Russia in Ukraine is not a vital national strategic interest.
- Nikki Haley, who did not answer the Fox questionnaire, has in the past expressed support for Kyiv, framing the war as one “on freedom.”
This comes on the heels of DeSantis’s stop in Iowa during his book tour, another signal that a 2024 bid is on the horizon.
More on DeSantis’s Ukraine stance the 2024 implications from The New York Times.
NEW POLL: Trump leads 2024 GOP pack, DeSantis trails close behind. The numbers, from CNN.
Trump’s night in Iowa:
The former president paid a visit to the Hawkeye State last night — his first since rolling out his 2024 bid — and lashed out at DeSantis, who visited the first-in-the-nation state for the GOP primary process last week.
“You have to remember, Ron was a disciple of Paul Ryan, who is a RINO loser who currently is destroying Fox [News] and would constantly vote against entitlements,” Trump said, using an acronym for “Republican in name only.”
“But Ryan, Paul Ryan is a big reason Mitt Romney … lost his election,” the former president continued. “And to be honest with you, Ron reminds me a lot of Mitt Romney, so I don’t think you’re going to be doing so well here.”
The Hill’s Max Greenwood has you covered on Trump’s trip to Iowa.
WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC … : The Hill’s Niall Stanage took a look at five big questions hanging over Trump’s campaign.
- How would an indictment affect Trump?
- How solid is his support?
- How does the age factor play for Trump and Biden?
- Can Trump east concerns about his electability in a general election?
- Will DeSantis live up to expectations?
🐥 Notable tweets
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is celebrating Pi Day the right way:
The senator showed off his Pi-Day spread this morning, including a chocolate-flavored treat.
The House is out and Senate is in today. President Biden is in California and Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C.
- 11:30 a.m.: Biden received the Presidential Daily Briefing
- 2:00 p.m.: Biden departs San Diego for Los Angeles
- 2:40 p.m.: Biden arrives in Los Angeles
- 2:50 p.m.: Biden departs Los Angeles for El Monte, Calif.
- 3:05 p.m.: Biden arrives in El Monte, Calif.
- 7:10 p.m.: Biden departs El Monte, Calif. for Los Angeles
- 7:35 p.m.: Biden departs Los Angeles for Las Vegas
- 8:40 p.m.: Biden arrives in Las Vegas
- 10 p.m.: Biden participates in a reception for the Democratic National Committee
All times Eastern.
📺What to watch
- 3:00 p.m.: Senate session. Livestream
- 3:45 p.m.: Biden discusses his efforts to reduce gun violence. Livestream
- 4:00 p.m.: House pro forma session. Livestream
In lighter news
Today is National Potato Chip Day. Here’s a ranking of the 20 best chip brands to help you celebrate properly. I’m biased toward anything barbeque flavored…
BONUS: Happy Pi Day! CNN has a nifty “what to know” about the 3.14 holiday.
DOUBLE BONUS: Happy Equal Pay Day! Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) has you covered with some fast facts on the gender pay gap.
And because you made it this far, check out this red fox who head-first embraced this weekend’s “spring forward” of the clocks.
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