Things are heating up on the Hill with bankruptcy reform and the stimulus package, and the week before the presidential inauguration promises to be action-packed. Some believe President-elect Barack Obama´s economic team could ask for the second half of the Tarp money before Mr. Obama takes office. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., could bring a bill conditioning the release of the money to the floor this week. Other things to watch for: a new president the New York Fed; Citigroup lobbyists dodging rotten tomatoes; an auto parts industry bailout?
He´s still Treasury secretary for one more week, but that won´t stop Henry Paulson from putting bailout concerns behind him and moving on to sunnier matters like....climate change. Mr. Paulson will be giving a 2pm talk to the think tank Resources for the Future titled "How Markets Can Help Address Climate Change and Other Environmental Problems."
The topic of Mr. Paulson´s speech may seem confounding at first, but it actually makes perfect sense. After demanding $700 billion from Congress, abruptly changing the plan for how to spend it and finally agreeing to bail out companies turned away by other arms of the US government, prepping the public for an eventual carbon tax might seem like light work.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., will finally get around to holding a 2pm hearing on what the incoming administration should do with the rest of the Tarp money. The hearing was originally scheduled for last Wednesday but Rep. Frank postponed it, saying the Obama transition team needed more time. No witnesses have been announced so far.
The Senate Banking Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Shaun Donovan, whom Mr. Obama selected as the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Elsewhere, Interim Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Neel Kashkari will update the group that has clamored most forcefully for more transparency on the implementation of Tarp. That´s right; the folks McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University will finally get the answers they´ve been demanding for weeks. Be there at 9:30am for the showdown.
Across the pond, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be giving the Stamp Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics. The topic: "The Crisis and the Policy Response." (This title seems to suggests there is only one crisis and one possible response to it).
Mr. Obama and his family will finally decamp from the Hay-Adams hotel, easing the burden of traffic on Washingtonians for exactly two days-until the inauguration stampede begins.
Senate Banking will hold confirmations hearings for the following Obama administration appointees: Mary Schapiro to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission; Daniel Tarullo to join the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; and Christina Romer, Austan Goolsbee and Cecilia Rouse, all chosen for the Council of Economic Advisors.
As part of an all-day program called "Private Markets and Public Insurance Programs," the American Enterprise Institute will host George Pennacchi and Mark J. Flannery, who are professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Florida, respectively, for a discussion on deposit insurance and whether it could be better handled by the private sector.