OVERNIGHT FINANCE: Yellen fights back over Fed bias charge

TOMORROW STARTS TONIGHT - - Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenHow lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response Fed chair issues dire warnings on economy Black Caucus moves to front and center in COVID fight MORE VERSUS HOUSE GOP. During her second and final day of testimony, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen spoke over House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)... She was more direct... more deliberate... She was careful not to stray off message or to come across as too combative... but this was definitely a more aggressive approach from Yellen than we've seen in the past, and her tone matches Fed officials' recent remarks assailing Congressional calls for more transparency.


-- YELLEN FIGHTS BACK: Yellen called it a "complete mischaracterization" for Republicans to say that she's only meeting with Democratic officials at the White House. And she forcefully pushed back against proposals that would increase disclosures of her meetings with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Yellen said that she does "not discuss monetary policy or actions that we are going to take with the secretary or with the executive branch." "We are accountable to Congress," Yellen maintained throughout the hearing. My story: http://bit.ly/18mBkdZ

THIS IS OVERNIGHT FINANCE, and it's been one of those days. I left my jacket in the hearing room, but a special thanks to Chairman Hensarling's staff for alerting me of its location and keeping it safe until I retrieved it. Tweet: @kevcirilli; email: kcirilli@thehill.com; and subscribe: http://thehill.com/signup/48. I'm on Bill Press' radio show tomorrow morning at7 a.m. if you're up for it. Back to work...

Back to Yellen:

-- KEY MOMENT: Yellen was adamant that she would not disclose transcripts of her private meetings with Lew. Republicans are concerned she's coordinating monetary policy with the White House. Yellen told Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.): "These are private one-on-one meetings and I don't think it's appropriate. If I had breakfast with you -- I would not make a transcript of what we discussed over breakfast."

Random musings - - > What does Janet Yellen eat for breakfast? 

-- GARRET TO YELLEN: "You are lobbying against having more confines around your ability to use your bailout authority. You are lobbying against being required to do more economic analysis of your rulemakings. You are lobbying against additional public scrutiny and Congressional oversight - - I am not sure who is lobbying more, you or the big banks you oversee." 

FOR YOUR RADAR: SENATE REACHES DHS BREAKTHROUGH? Jordain Carney for The Hill: "The stalemate over funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was broken Wednesday as the Senate voted 98-2 to proceed to legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown. Democrats agreed to support the DHS bill after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stripped out provisions inserted by the House that would reverse President Obama's executive actions on immigration." http://bit.ly/1ALPSx1

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK WATCH. Big day for Ex-Im. (You already know: Nearly 700 businesses are in Washington meeting with lawmakers urging them to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Tea Party says it's corporate welfare. Biz says it helps keep jobs. Hensarling has jurisdiction, but he hasn't said if he'll move a bill through his committee. The bank shuts down June 30 unless Congress votes to extend its charter.) Here's what happened today:

1.) House Democrats unveiled a seven-year reauthorization bill sponsored by Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Gwen Moore (Wis.), Denny Heck (Wash.) and Steny Hoyer (Md.), who is the House minority whip. An aide working on it told me they've already got more than 50 Democratic members pledging support. My story: http://bit.ly/1Asj8tz

2.) Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said they're working on a Senate reauthorization bill that will include controversial coal provisions championed by the coal industry and opposed by environmentalists. The provision overturns a rule banning Ex-Im from financing projects in plants that haven't adopted greener technology. My story: http://bit.ly/1alsuhe

3.) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) rallied Ex-Im supporters earlier at a Bloomberg event, urging reauthorization and criticizing the Tea Party. He said: "There's no way in hell I'm going back to South Carolina and say, 'Hey we shut down a bank because people ideologically objected to the bank and the reason you've lost these plants is because companies overseas doing the exact same thing have a bank.' [...It] makes no friggin' sense to me, quite frankly, that we're even having this discussion given the way the world really is." My story: http://bit.ly/1alsuhe

-- WORTH NOTING: Hensarling is speaking with Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham, a prominent Tea Party group that opposes Ex-Im along with Hensarling, on Friday at a CPAC panel about "cronyism." We'll be watching...

ON-TAP FOR TOMORROW: House Financial Services Committee hearing on housing reform. Hearing prep: Centrist-Democratic think tank Third Way's Tanner Daniel has a primer on the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). He notes that while FHA's finances have improved, FHA officials are still not in compliance with the federal law: http://bit.ly/1z5t2NI.

ANN WAGNER TAKES ON WHITE HOUSE, ELIZABETH WARREN. My take for The Hill: "Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) introduced legislation Wednesday to delay regulations -- championed by President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) -- that would crack down on financial advisers. You already know the battle lines: Moderate Democrats and Rs (backed by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce) say that the new regs will radically change the industry's payment system, resulting in a loss of financial advice services to low-income Americans. The administration and Warren say that the new regulations are needed to protect consumers from financial advisers who sell faulty advice to earn commissions from banks. Obama and Warren made a push for the regs on Monday at a public event hosted by AARP.

-- WAGNER'S BILL: Wagner's legislation would require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) act first in issuing any type of fiduciary regulation. Labor Department officials have argued that their agency and the SEC have separate regulatory jurisdictions on the issue.

-- WAGNER ON WHITE HOUSE, WARREN: "For Elizabeth Warren to limit this in such a way is wrong. ... It's so the Warren, Washington, White House way: top down, 'We know what's best. We're here from the government to save you from yourself.' ...We do have a savings crisis in this nation, and to limit any kind of access and choice is outrageous... It's a Washington regulation, not a Wall Street regulation. This is the Warren way: 'She knows best.' ...Financial advisers and broker dealers have been absolutely slurred by Elizabeth Warren and this White House." Story: http://bit.ly/1LIOyjj

WARREN REFUSES TO PRAISE HILLARY CLINTON. Last night, Warren was on MSNBC with Al Sharpton. Warren-world bristles at the notion that she's perpetuating her own 2016 rumors to further her brand and clout within progressive circles. Just last week, Warren said in Springfield, Mass., that people were trying to draft her to run for president because they're "ready to fight back." Last night on MSNBC, Warren had yet another opportunity to rally behind Hillary... And, um, here's the transcript:

SHARPTON: "A lot of progressives have questions about whether [Clinton] will be a progressive warrior. What would you say to them?" 

WARREN: "You know - - I think that's what we've got to see. Um, I want to hear what she wants to run on and what she says she wants to do. That's what campaigns are supposed to be about." Video: http://bit.ly/1FtBhXO WaPo headline: "Elizabeth Warren's answer on Hillary Clinton's liberal credentials wasn't convincing at all."

-- FLASHBACK, via WaPo columnist Ruth Marcus on June 20, 2014: "When I ask about what she made of Clinton's book-tour comment about being 'dead broke' on leaving the White House, Warren paused for a full 19 seconds. 'Um, I was surprised,' she finally said. 'But, families across this country are working so hard to hold together,' she added, veering into an unrelated disquisition about young people falling behind their parents and the false promise of trickle-down economics." http://wapo.st/1Et0GCL

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