OVERNIGHT MONEY: Ron Paul's Fed bill hits the House floor


FED up: So, Rep. Ron Paul gets his moment in the sun on Tuesday, which is exactly where he wants the Federal Reserve's balance sheet. Paul's bill, which would open up the Fed to complete audits by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), is slated for a House floor vote. 

The bill should cruise through the House, as it has already pulled in 274 cosponsors. However, it remains unclear who might take up the mantle to carry it though the Senate. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is already on record as opposing the measure. 

Bernanke told Paul and other members of the House Financial Services Committee last week that the bill could present a "nightmare scenario" as the Fed's every policy decision could suddenly be second-guessed by members of Congress with an ax to grind.

While the bill does not seem to have much of a future in the Senate, one thing to watch for Tuesday will be how many Democrats vote for it — 41 of them are already co-sponsors.


Credit crunch?: A House Oversight subcommittee will drill down into the implications of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Tuesday. Critics of the new bureau, including many Republican lawmakers, have cautioned that the agency could dole out heavy-handed rules on the financial industry that would end up limiting choices for consumers shopping for financial products. 


Meanwhile, CFPB advocates, including its director, Richard Cordray, have defended the agency. They contend that the bureau is not looking to limit consumer choice but rather make the terms of complicated financial products clear so those shopping can choose the best deal for them. Cordray will be on hand to offer his take before the panel, as will industry representatives that have been critical of the bureau since it was just a legislative idea.

What's the score, again: The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its next score of the cost of a repeal of the healthcare law. When CBO scored the repeal of the Democrats' healthcare reform law in February, it showed it would increase the deficit by $210 billion over 10 years.

But then the Supreme Court upheld the law.  

The Supreme Court upheld the core of the law — the mandate that adults buy health insurance or pay a penalty or, as the court deemed it, a tax — but it also allows states to opt out of expanding Medicaid coverage. Under the law, states had faced being cut off from federal funds if they did not expand Medicaid. The new CBO score will take into account the complicated effects of this change. 

Online sales tax: The congressional debate over online sales tax continues on Tuesday with the House Judiciary Committee considering a proposal that advocates say would even the playing field between Internet retailers and more traditional shops.

For right now, online sellers don't have to charge sales tax to customers in states where they don't have a physical location, a setup that brick-and-mortar retailers say hurts their ability to compete. 

Retail groups say it's more of a matter of when a proposal like the Marketplace Equity Act, which House Judiciary will discuss on Tuesday, becomes law, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also said last week that he thought some sort of online sales tax measure had a chance this year.

But the bipartisan proposal also faces fierce opposition from well-known conservatives like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and the Heritage Foundation, and some Republicans on Capitol Hill are worried about being associated with a plan that even be possibly construed as a tax increase. 

Economic rebuttal: Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) will offer a rebuttal to Sen. Patty Murray's (D-Wash.) speech last week about the "fiscal cliff," also at the Brookings Institution. Murray said Democrats are wiling to go over the cliff rather than accept a bad deal from Republicans that unfairly benefits the rich. During the speech, Murray blasted Toomey for his proposal during last year's supercommittee, on which they both served. 

The GOP has promoted the Toomey plan as an instance where the GOP was willing to entertain revenue increases to get a deficit deal. Murray argued that by lowering the top marginal income tax rate to 28 percent and refusing to specify tax loopholes to close to pay for that, Toomey's plan was a gimmick. She argued that the only way to pay for that would be to close loopholes dear to the middle class like the exemption for employer sponsored healthcare and the home mortgage deduction.  

Native American housing: The Senate Banking Committee will discuss ways to handle housing partnerships in Native American territories.


Spain in crisis: Spain's escalating financial struggles sent the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling 239 points, before recovering some, on Monday. 

Lowering credit ratings: Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg’s credit rating outlooks were lowered to negative by Moody’s Investors Service, as uncertainty remains over the European debt crisis. 


FHFA Housing Price Index: The Federal Housing Finance Agency will release its measure of prices for May on single-family homes. 


— Senate moves closer to tax rate vote

— Dems say GOP is hiding controversial labor, health bill

— Tea Party group goes after GOPers supporting farm bill

— CBO: African trade deal would save the government $5 million

— GAO: Debt-limit fight cost government $1.3B

—  Senators scrounge for way to pay for drought bill

Russia set to join World Trade Organization on Aug. 22

— Russian ambassador warns Congress that pending human rights bill 'not going to be accepted'

— Senate committee to vote on chemical policy overhaul

— GOP lawmaker digs further on Libor

— Dems: GOP tax plan costs much more than ours

— CBO cannot estimate effects of GOP anti-regulations bill

— Senate bill would boost penalties on Wall Street securities law violations

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