11.07.2018
By Rob Daly

Wall Street Readies for Democratic House

With the Democratic Party winning more than the required 218 seats to take control of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress, Wall Street may want to prepare for two years of gridlock.

The next Congress will be little more than a two-year preparation for the general election in 2020, James Angel, associate professor of finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, told Markets Media.

James Angel, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University

James Angel, Georgetown University

“There are going to be a lot of bills piling up in the next Congress,” he said. “Whoever wins the 2020 election will have a long to-do list.”

Of the Democrats on the House Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment, only, all of them breezily won re-election, except for Keith Ellison (MN-D) and Krysten Sinema (AZ-D), who did not stand for re-election to the House.

If the new Democratic leadership matches the general public discussion where Maxine Waters (CA-D) chairs the Financial Services Committee, and Carolyn Maloney (NY-D) chairs the capital markets subcommittee, the committee’s agenda may focus on housing and possible reform of the government-sponsored enterprises Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, according to Jim Toes, president and CEO of the Security Traders Association.

Angel also expects that the committee and subcommittee to do little with its investigatory powers beyond investigating the Trump administration.

As for the change of leadership’s impact on regulators such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission, neither think that it will have that great of an effect on the regulator’s agenda.

James Toes, STA

“The SEC is an independent agency,” noted Toes. “Chairman Jay Clayton has been pretty transparent with his agenda and priorities of the SEC under his tenure. I do not expect to see any pivots or changes from that.”

“The power of the budget is the only real control that they have,” added Angel. “The question is: Will a Democratically controlled House be so pissed at the SEC that it wouldn’t give the SEC enough funding to put cops on the beat? I doubt it.”

However, the regulator’s trajectory may skew to the right as Commissioner Kara Stein’s term ends on December 31, which will leave the Commission with one Democratic commissioner and two Republican commissioners.

“Normally what they do with these nominations is bring a Republican and Democrat through the process at the same time,” said Toes. “This is a bit out of the ordinary that Commissioner Elad Rosin was put forward, nominated, and approved without the Democrats putting forth somebody alongside him. It’s not extraordinary, but it is out of the ordinary.”

In the meantime, there is little expected from the committee and subcommittee during their lame duck session, according to Toes and Angel.

“I think the priority for the lame duck session will be getting judges and other Trump appointees approved,” added Toes. “On the financial services side, there is a good number of Trump nominees that have gotten through the Senate Banking Committee approval but have not been voted on by the full Senate.”

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