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On The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban

On The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban
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Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money, where we promise to never prank call you. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance: The Treasury Department on Monday announced its plans to fight climate change through fiscal policy and create a new office to chart an economically beneficial path away from fossil fuel energy.

  • The department said Monday it will create a “Climate Hub” led by John E. Morton, a former Obama administration official and climate finance expert, that will coordinate climate-related initiatives across the entire Treasury Department.
  • The climate hub’s main priority will be helping Treasury “facilitate and unlock” investments in energy technology and drive an “expedited transition” away from fossil fuels in “high-emitting sectors and industries.”
  • Other responsibilities for the climate hub include using tax and economic policies to support building infrastructure resilient to extreme weather, looking out for communities hit hard by climate change or pollution when crafting policies, and ensuring that the transition toward a carbon-neutral economy provides economic opportunities across income levels.

“The steep consequences of our actions demand that the Treasury Department make climate change a top priority,” said Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWaPo reporter: Treasury continuing recovery plan amid complaints of labor shortage, inflation Business groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary MORE in a Monday statement.

“Finance and financial incentives will play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis at home and abroad and in providing capital for opportunities to transform the economy.” I’ve got more here.

The background: The creation of the Climate Hub is the first major step in Treasury’s long-anticipated push to fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions and prepare the economy for climate-related risks.

Yellen, who calls climate change “an existential threat,” has pledged for months to make climate change and the financial risks it poses a primary focus of the Treasury Department and its wide-ranging responsibilities.

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LEADING THE DAY

Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' It's Joe Manchin vs the progressives on infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.) on Monday threw his support behind the PRO Act, union-backed legislation to promote labor organizing.

  • The PRO Act would block "right-to-work" laws, which allow people who benefit from union representation to opt out of membership and paying dues, and impose tougher restrictions on companies seeking to prevent unionization efforts.
  • It passed in the House last month in a narrow, party-line vote of 225-206, with just five GOP members supporting it and one Democrat voting against.

Why it matters: Machin's support is significant because he is a centrist whose vote is key in a Senate evenly divided with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Even so, a handful of other Democrats have yet to voice support for the measure, which is essential for it to be viable in the Senate. The Hill’s Niv Elis explains here.

Where we go from here: Manchin, true to form, said he wants to work with Republicans on a way to pass this bill on a bipartisan basis. It’s difficult to imagine getting 10 GOP senators on board with any bill that would reverse the party’s long-standing efforts to curb the influence of unions, so that may not be possible in this Congress.

Biden has also proposed making the PRO Act part of his $2.5 trillion infrastructure proposal, which Democrats may pass through budget reconciliation. That would only require the unanimous support of all Senate Democrats—which, again, the bill doesn’t have—but the process has strict rules for what kinds of bills can be included and it’s unlikely that the PRO Act qualifies.

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Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Monday unveiled a rule ordering debt collectors to inform tenants about their rights under a federal eviction ban if they’ve been unable to pay rent during the pandemic.

  • The rule would order any third party debt collector, including attorneys, attempting to collect owed rent on behalf of a landlord to tell tenants that they may be protected from eviction under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium. 
  • Debt collectors would have to inform tenants about their rights under the CDC ban no later than when the renter receives an eviction notice.

“With COVID-19 killing hundreds of Americans every day, kicking families out into the street during this pandemic may literally be a death sentence,” said CFPB acting Director Dave Uejio. 

I’ve got more here.

The background:  President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE last month extended the CDC’s eviction ban through the end of June with millions of households still struggling to find their financial footing amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • While housing advocates have praised Biden for extending the Trump-era ban, they’ve also blasted the administration for failing to patch the various holes in the order.
  • Landlords that violate the ban can face a $200,000 fine and a year in jail, but not one has faced federal charges for plowing ahead with evictions despite the order.
  • Tenants seeking protection under the ban must fill out a designated form and present it to their landlords.

"Conservatively, there are probably 1000s of families being evicted every week who are eligible for coverage under the CDC eviction moratorium and appear not to know that they can exercise their rights," said CFPB senior advisor Diane Thompson in a call with reporters.

ON TAP TOMORROW: 

  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a markup at 10 a.m.
  • The House Small Business Committee holds an oversight hearing regarding the SBA’s pandemic relief programs at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on investing in rural communities at 10 a.m.
  • All four members of the Federal Trade Commission testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on consumer protection at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on using the tax code to fight gender, racial and ethnic disparities at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on workforce modernization and training after COVID-19 at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee holds a hearing on the American Jobs Plan at 10:30 a.m.
  • The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis holds a hearing on creating jobs and driving economic growth through climate action at 12:30

GOOD TO KNOW

ODDS AND ENDS

  • British authorities are exploring the possibility of creating a new digital currency dubbed “Britcoin.”
  • The nation’s top miners union on Monday said it will back the White House’s plan to transition fossil fuel industries to renewable energy production if the Biden administration can guarantee the preservation of jobs.
  • Early childhood education advocates successfully secured billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief and now are lobbying for child care to stay in the final infrastructure package after President Biden included funding for the industry in his proposal.