Overnight Finance

On The Money: Key Democrat accuses Labor chief of ‘misleading’ testimony | Warren urges bank regulator to scrap anti-redlining rule rewrite | Senators press IG to act to prevent nursing homes from seizing coronavirus checks

Greg Nash

Happy Tuesday 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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Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

THE BIG DEAL—Key Democrat accuses Labor secretary of ‘misleading’ testimony on jobless benefits: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, accused Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia on Tuesday of giving misleading testimony on key questions pertaining to unemployment benefits.

“I think that’s just misleading the committee, misleading the public and on a key kind of question, which is what to do going forward,” Wyden said at the end of a three-hour Finance Committee hearing looking at how the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic affected workers.

At the heart of the matter was the question of extending the $600 in additional weekly unemployment insurance benefits, a provision of March’s CARES Act that’s set to expire at the end of July.

  • At the heart of the matter was the question of extending the $600 in additional weekly unemployment insurance benefits, a provision of March’s CARES Act that’s set to expire at the end of July.

  • Republicans argue that the extra cash, which in many cases makes the total benefit higher than working wages, disincentivizes people from returning to work.

  • Wyden contended that the only reason Democrats had pushed for a flat $600 increase was because states, which administer unemployment benefits, would have to take months to upgrade their systems in order to simply provide workers their full level of wages.

    The Hill’s Niv Elis has more here.

    On tap tomorrow

  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a virtual hearing on the COVID-19 rent crisis, 12 p.m.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting.


Warren urges bank regulator to scrap anti-redlining rule rewrite: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is urging a top federal bank regulator to scrap a controversial rewrite of anti-redlining regulations released by his predecessor last month and recuse himself from any attempt to issue new rules.

In a letter to acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks released Tuesday, the senator called on the agency to withdraw new rules for banks to follow under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a 1977 law intended to ensure that banks lend to and serve low-income and majority-minority areas.

  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released its long awaited CRA overhaul on May 20, less than five months after first proposing the changes.
  • The quick release of the new regulations came just a day before former Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting abruptly resigned, and without buy-in from the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) — the other two federal bank regulators that enforce the CRA.
  • While Republicans and some banking industry advocates praised Otting and the OCC for their quick action, Democrats and fair lending groups accused the agency of gutting the CRA with a rushed rule that would fail to boost lending in underserved areas.

“You now have an opportunity to undo this damage, and you should do so immediately. First, you should withdraw the final CRA rule to provide clarity to all stakeholders that the implementation of these regulations will never see the light of day,” Warren wrote to Brooks.

I have more here.

Senators press IG to act to prevent nursing homes from seizing coronavirus checks: 

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee are urging a watchdog for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue alerts in an effort to protect residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities from having their coronavirus relief payments confiscated by their residences.

  • The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief law President Trump signed in March provided for one-time direct payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child. The payments are considered advances on tax credits, and are not considered “resources” for Medicaid purposes.
  • However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorney general offices are reporting that some nursing homes and assisted living facilities are improperly telling their residents on Medicaid that the coronavirus checks are resources owed to the facilities.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a letter to Christi Grimm, the acting inspector general for HHS, that while the FTC’s alerts are important, we believe more could be done to alert the residents of these facilities, many of whom are frail and elderly, as well as the facilities themselves about the unlawful nature of this practice.” The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us more here.

Report: As many as 25K US retail stores could close this year: A record number of retail stores could close this year in the U.S. due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting shutdowns, according to a Tuesday report.

  • Coresight Research released a report that predicted between 20,000 and 25,000 retail stores would close in 2020, with 55 to 60 percent of those being located in malls, CNBC reported. That would more than double the current record of retail store closures in a year, which was 9,300 in 2019.
  • In mid-March, during the early stages of the pandemic in the U.S., Coresight Research had forecasted that more than 15,000 retail stores would shut down this year. 
  • The research company has counted a total of 4,005 closures by retailers this year, including more than 900 Pier 1 Imports locations, about 300 health chain GNC locations and more than 200 home goods chain Tuesday Morning locations, according to CNBC.


  • The leaders of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday released a bipartisan memo finding that the IRS had conducted little oversight until recently of its Free File partnership with tax-preparation companies.
  • A top official with the U.S. Secret Service said Tuesday that coronavirus-related fraud could lead to $30 billion in federal relief funds being stolen by criminals. 
  • Manufacturing company 3M is suing an Amazon seller for selling the company’s N95 masks at nearly 20 times the market value amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Three Chinese telecommunications firms were allowed to operate for roughly 20 years in the U.S. without appropriate oversight, according to a bipartisan report released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released early Tuesday.
Tags Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Eugene Scalia Ron Wyden

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