Overnight Finance

On the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices

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Happy Friday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup

Today’s Big Deal: Millions of Americans will be on the hook for their student loans in May as prices continue to rise. We’ll also look at President Biden’s new Federal Reserve nominees and the impact of the expiration of the expanded child tax credit. 

But first, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has some complaints about “Succession.” 

For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Aris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Reach us at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane, afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley and kevers@thehill.com or @KarlMEvers

Let’s get to it. 

 

Rising inflation adds pain to student loan debt 

Student loan borrowers will face a serious squeeze this spring when a federal moratorium on their debt payments expires amid surging inflation.

Tens of millions of Americans are bracing to resume paying their student loans for the first time since March 2020, after the fastest annual rise in consumer prices since 1982. The costs of food, housing and other essential goods are rising while millions of Americans feel the crushing weight of student debt.

  • High inflation is a huge political challenge for President Biden and Democrats going into the midterm elections, and advocates have warned that the lack of action to forgive student loan debt will also follow them on the trail. 
  • Economists say Biden has little direct ability to unsnarl the tangle of supply chain issues, hiring challenges and pandemic obstacles driving inflation higher.
  • The Federal Reserve is also poised to begin hiking interest rates to cool inflation as soon as March. But even lower inflation would still leave cash-strapped borrowers staring down high prices.

A White House official, when asked about rising inflation and the impact on borrowers, pointed to Biden’s plan to reduce prices by going after meat processors and directing the biggest oil reserve release in history. 

“The President knows the kind of squeeze that can put on working families, which is why he’s using every tool at his disposal to bring those prices down,” the official told The Hill. 

Even so, those efforts could take months — if not years — to yield lower prices and only in certain sectors of the economy.

Read more here

Headed to the Fed? 

President Biden on Friday announced the nominations of three top Federal Reserve officials, lining up a full slate for the Fed Board of Governors.

Biden formally announced the nominations of former Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as Fed vice chair of supervision and of Michigan State University professor Lisa Cook and Davidson College professor Philip Jefferson to serve as Fed board members.  

  • Raskin, now a law professor at Duke University, served as deputy Treasury secretary and a Fed board member during the Obama administration. She was also commissioner of financial regulation for the state of Maryland and was considered a front-runner to serve as Treasury secretary under Biden. 
  • Cook is a widely respected economics professor who served in the White House Council of Economic Advisers under former President Obama. She’s held research and leadership roles at Harvard University and Stanford University and visiting appointments at several regional reserve banks. She is currently a member of the Chicago Fed’s advisory board.
  • Jefferson, also the vice president for academic affairs at Davidson, was an economist for the Fed board and spent decades in several research and professorial positions. He is also an adviser to the Minneapolis Fed and former president of the National Economics Association. 

If confirmed by the Senate, all three would join the Board of Governors to oversee its operations, help set U.S. monetary policy and control the Fed’s supervision and regulation of major banks.

Sylvan has more here.

 

FAMILIES LOSE MONTHLY CHECKS

Millions of families to lose child tax credit checks starting this weekend 

Millions of families this weekend will stop receiving monthly child tax payments for the first time in months after Congress failed to pass an extension of the expanded credit. 

As lawmakers struggle to revive talks to renew the expansion, more than 30 million families that have been receiving the monthly payments since July will not see another round on Saturday.

  • Efforts to renew the effort hit a roadblock last month amid opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key holdout who has expressed concerns about the expanded credit in addition to a larger Democratic-backed social spending plan that included the extension. 
  • Democrats have expressed hope that the tax credit and larger talks can be revived and  expect negotiations to pick up in the weeks ahead. 

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he is hopeful the expanded child tax credit will be able to remain in a revamped version of the plan that could win Manchin’s support. But he acknowledged that Manchin, who has criticized the benefit’s structure, is “not big on that one.” 

Aris has more here

 

WHITE HOUSE WEIGHS IN

Top Biden economic adviser gets behind ban on congressional stock trades 

White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said Friday that barring members of Congress from trading stocks is a “sensible” idea that could help restore trust in government. 

His comments, which came during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” add momentum to a growing bipartisan push to bar lawmakers and their immediate family members from owning or trading securities.   

“There’s a lot of distrust and mistrust around how politics works, around the political process,” Deese said. “One of the things that we need to do across the board is restore faith in our institutions, whether that be Congress and the legislative branch, whether that be the Fed and otherwise and so anything we can do to try to restore that faith, I think makes a lot of sense.” 

  • Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) introduced a bill this week that would require sitting members of Congress, their spouses and dependent children to divest from stocks or transfer them into a blind trust. 
  • The White House said in a statement that President Biden believes that government officials “should be held to the highest ethical standards” but has not yet endorsed any bills to bar lawmakers from trading stocks. 

Lawmakers of both parties have repeatedly introduced bills to end congressional stock trading that failed to receive a vote. They’ll need to convince Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said last month that members of Congress should be able to participate in the “free-market economy.”  

Karl has more here

Good to Know 

Retail sales dropped by 1.9 percent from November to December amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, defying economists’ predictions that sales would remain flat. Still, fourth-quarter retail sales increased 17.1 percent year-over-year.

Here’s what else have our eye on: 

  • CVS and Walgreens are temporarily closing some of their stores this weekend because too many of their workers contracted COVID-19.
  • A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general are pushing forward with their antitrust investigations into Facebook parent company Meta with an appeal in their case based on its prior acquisitions and a reported new joint inquiry with the federal government on the company’s virtual reality unit.
  • President Biden on Friday sought to highlight the progress implementing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law he signed 60 days ago, even as other elements of his legislative agenda have stalled recently.
  • Tesla is reportedly delaying the Cybertruck again, pushing its release date to early 2023 after initially planning to roll out production in 2021.  

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Wednesday

  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on a Government Accountability Office review of the Community Development Block Grant program at 10 a.m. 
  • A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on the effect of corporate concentration in the food system at 10 a.m.  
  • The House Small Business Committee holds a hearing entitled “The Power, Peril, and Promise of the Creative Economy” at 10 a.m.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler speaks at the Exchequer Club at 12:30 p.m. 

Thursday

  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on ending homelessness at 10 a.m. 

 

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.

Tags Barack Obama Brian Deese Gary Gensler Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Yarmuth Jon Ossoff Mark Kelly Sherrod Brown

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