Bill addresses $26 billion in unredeemed savings bonds

A group of lawmakers have reintroduced a measure they said seeks to aid Americans in claiming over $26 billion in unredeemed savings bonds.© Shutterstock Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Kennedy (R-LA) have joined colleagues in reintroducing the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2021, noting presently the Treasury Department holds more than $26 billion in […]

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A group of lawmakers have reintroduced a measure they said seeks to aid Americans in claiming over $26 billion in unredeemed savings bonds.

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Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Kennedy (R-LA) have joined colleagues in reintroducing the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2021, noting presently the Treasury Department holds more than $26 billion in matured, unredeemed Savings Bonds categorized as lost, stolen, destroyed or unclaimed.

“The federal government is sitting on billions of dollars in unredeemed savings bonds, including at least $1.4 billion belonging to Floridians,” Rubio said. “This legislation would help the State of Florida to identify bond owners, so that these funds can be returned to their rightful owners.”

Per the legislation, the Treasury Department would be required to provide states information regarding matured and unclaimed bonds, as a means of enabling states to initiate unclaimed property programs to help find the original owners or heirs of the original owners of the bonds.

“The Treasury is sitting on billions of dollars that should be in Americans’ pockets — including more than $300 million that belong to Louisianians,” Kennedy said. “Louisianians pay their taxes faithfully, and Washington needs to pay out these savings bonds. The Unclaimed Savings Bond Act would make sure states have what they need to get this money to its rightful owners, so they can invest it in what matters most to their families.”

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Republicans on Senate Finance Committee object to Biden tax cut plan

The Republican leader on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee issued a statement on the tax cut bill recently approved by the House Ways and Means committee, citing a recent analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.© Shutterstock The analysis showed that while the majority of Americans making less than $400,000 will see tax decreases under […]

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The Republican leader on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee issued a statement on the tax cut bill recently approved by the House Ways and Means committee, citing a recent analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

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The analysis showed that while the majority of Americans making less than $400,000 will see tax decreases under the plan, some in the $200,000 to $500,000 earning category could see increases according to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation report – although it is not clear how much in that bracket is from those making over $400,000.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut taxes across all income groups, especially for the middle class,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said. “This nonpartisan analysis shows that less than a third of all Americans will benefit from Democrats’ tax plans, with more than two thirds either experiencing no benefit or facing immediate tax hikes. The middle class and small businesses in particular will be getting very little—except for more taxes.”

If taxes do increase for some Americans making under $400,000, Crapo said President Joe Biden would be breaking his pledge to not raise taxes on those under making less than that amount.

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Senate Democrats introduce bill to reform unemployment insurance

A group of Democratic senators introduced a bill that seeks to reform the nation’s unemployment insurance system.© Shutterstock The Unemployment Insurance Improvement Act, S. 2865, was introduced on Monday by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The bill, if enacted, would dictate that states cover 26 weeks of unemployment […]

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A group of Democratic senators introduced a bill that seeks to reform the nation’s unemployment insurance system.

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The Unemployment Insurance Improvement Act, S. 2865, was introduced on Monday by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The bill, if enacted, would dictate that states cover 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits as well as part-time workers. It also seeks to ensure states are not able to determine eligibility based on old wage records.

“This proposal makes a down payment on long-overdue reform to our unemployment system, and was designed to fit in our upcoming package,” Wyden said. “Importantly, it would slow the race to the bottom on benefits, ensuring six months of benefits and coverage for part-time workers. It would also take significant steps forward to improve administration of the unemployment insurance system, which would help combat fraud by criminal syndicates. This system has been intentionally broken to minimize the numbers of jobless workers who can access it, and we’re going take significant steps toward fixing it.”

Further, it is designed to improve administration of unemployment insurance by requiring states to accept electronic applications, make applications mobile-friendly, and ensure accessibility in multiple languages.

“What we’ve learned over the last 18 months is that our nation’s unemployment insurance system is inadequate and unreliable for workers when they lose a job,” Bennet said. “Unemployment programs have helped many American workers stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic – but too many still struggle to access their benefits in our patchwork of outdated state systems. This proposal is an essential first step toward modernizing the system, making critical reforms that would protect workers by strengthening and expanding benefits and ensuring states’ technological infrastructure is readily accessible to all.”

The National Employment Law Project issued a statement in support of the plan.

“We applaud Senator Wyden for heeding the call of unemployed people and advocates across the country by proposing critical reforms that continue to provide a lifeline in this pandemic and economic crisis and begin to address key ways the Unemployment Insurance system disproportionately excludes Black and Latinx workers, women workers, and workers with disabilities,” Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the organization, said.

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Futures Industry Association report examines climate change policy

The Futures Industry Association’s (FIA) recently released report on climate-related policy and other efforts to combat climate change showed the private sector has made an impact.© Shutterstock FIA’s 2021 Sustainable Finance Report serves as an update and supplements the FIA’s September 2020 policy paper, focusing on environmental futures while featuring industry resources and case studies […]

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The Futures Industry Association’s (FIA) recently released report on climate-related policy and other efforts to combat climate change showed the private sector has made an impact.

© Shutterstock

FIA’s 2021 Sustainable Finance Report serves as an update and supplements the FIA’s September 2020 policy paper, focusing on environmental futures while featuring industry resources and case studies highlighting industry contributions.

“While governments have spearheaded the response to the challenge, I believe it is the private sector that has moved the needle over the last two years,” FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken said during opening remarks at FIA’s International Derivatives Expo conference.
“We should be proud that our markets will be front and center in managing the risk around climate change and helping discover prices that will align incentives, drive capital investment, and change citizen behavior.”

The report said emission allowance contracts are proving essential to reducing the carbon footprint, as well as the use of carbon offsets, clean fuels, bioenergy and recycled materials.

FIA is also participating in the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, per authorities, seeking to scale a voluntary carbon market with an overarching goal of aiding the Paris Climate Agreement.

FIA personnel acknowledged work remains in reducing worldwide emissions and transitioning to a sustainable economy that alleviates climate change threats.

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CFPB Report Finds Declines in Credit Card Debt, New Applications and Increases in Digital Engagement in 2020

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its fifth biennial report to Congress today on the consumer credit card market, finding that the market’s growth over the last few years reversed course in 2020.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its fifth biennial report to Congress today on the consumer credit card market, finding that the market’s growth over the last few years reversed course in 2020.

Read more / Original news source: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-report-finds-declines-credit-card-debt-new-applications-increases-digital-engagement-2020/

OCC Reports Improvement in Mortgage Performance

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reported that the performance of first-lien mortgages in the federal banking system improved during the second quarter of 2021.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reported that the performance of first-lien mortgages in the federal banking system improved during the second quarter of 2021.

Read more / Original news source: https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2021/nr-occ-2021-103.html

ICBA remains opposed to IRS reporting proposal

Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) officials said the organization remains in opposition to congressional efforts allowing the IRS to collect consumer financial account information.© Shutterstock “Adjusting the reporting threshold or making other tweaks to Washington’s widely opposed proposal to require financial institutions to report customer account information to the IRS will not salvage this […]

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Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) officials said the organization remains in opposition to congressional efforts allowing the IRS to collect consumer financial account information.

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“Adjusting the reporting threshold or making other tweaks to Washington’s widely opposed proposal to require financial institutions to report customer account information to the IRS will not salvage this misguided plan,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey noted via a statement. “An ICBA poll conducted by Morning Consult found 67 percent of voters oppose the proposal, with 64 percent saying they do not trust the IRS to monitor their financial information. Further, consumers have sent more than 400,000 messages to their members Congress in opposition via banklocally.org/privacy.”

Per the ICBA, a majority of Americans oppose the IRS monitoring their bank account information and maintains the IRS reporting proposal is an invasion of consumers’ privacy, violates due process, and serves as a data security risk in the wake of the IRS’s ongoing tax return leak investigation.

Additionally, the organization noted the proposal is a threat to efforts to reduce the unbanked population by forcing more consumers out of the banking system and to predatory lenders.

“ICBA, community bankers and voters across the country will continue opposing this proposal regardless of adjustments to the reporting threshold,” Romero Rainey said.

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Lawmakers advocate initiative on inclusive government growth

A group of lawmakers have forwarded correspondence to the Biden Administration encouraging capitalism reformation in which short-term profits and shareholder primacy no longer take center stage.© Shutterstock Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and David Cicilline (D-RI) in spearheading the effort seeking an […]

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A group of lawmakers have forwarded correspondence to the Biden Administration encouraging capitalism reformation in which short-term profits and shareholder primacy no longer take center stage.

© Shutterstock

Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and David Cicilline (D-RI) in spearheading the effort seeking an initiative coordinating federal policies reshaping and rebuilding an economy working for all.

Authorities noted three Senators and 18 House Representatives requested the proposed White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth advance ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 economic fallout; a widening racial wealth gap; and climate change.

“While we support passing much of your Build Back Better Agenda through a budget reconciliation package, we believe it is also essential that the Administration prioritize executive action to reform capitalism in such a way that short-term profits and shareholder primacy no longer take center stage,” the Senators wrote. “A White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth could play a central coordinating role between policy councils, executive agencies and independent agencies in promoting equitable economic policy. The Initiative could also serve to convene private sector and civil society organizations that increasingly recognize the critical nature of a transition towards stakeholder capitalism.”

The House members noted several government agencies have already begun to prioritize more inclusive economic growth and community investing.

“In order to realize the full potential of these reforms across the federal government, we need coordination and prioritization from the Biden Administration,” House members concluded. “The principles behind stakeholder capitalism and community investing are increasingly being embraced across industries and in both the public and private sectors. With this new Initiative, we believe the White House can tap into a growing movement and ensure we transform these ideas into lasting, impactful policy.”

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Rep. Doggett seeks to include Pell Grants bill in Build Back Better Act

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is seeking to include the Tax Free Pell Grants Act in the House Ways and Means Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better bill.© Shutterstock Doggett, who introduced the Tax Free Pell Grants Act, maintains the measure removes student financial and logistical barriers while enhancing coordination with the American Opportunity Tax […]

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Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is seeking to include the Tax Free Pell Grants Act in the House Ways and Means Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better bill.

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Doggett, who introduced the Tax Free Pell Grants Act, maintains the measure removes student financial and logistical barriers while enhancing coordination with the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

“With access to education so vital to American progress, we need to Build Back Better with greater educational opportunity for all,” Doggett, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, noted via a statement. “Because tax treatment of combining the American Opportunity Tax Credit and a Pell Grant remains too complicated, some deserving students are missing out on available financial assistance. Making Pell Grants entirely tax-free expands opportunity. As education builds individual success, Tax Free Pell truly helps us Build Back Better.”

American Council on Education President Ted Mitchell said the organization appreciates the House Ways and Means Committee’s proposal to repeal the taxation of Pell Grants and is encouraging the full House to include it in the final reconciliation measure.

“Pell Grants help nearly seven million low- and moderate-income students attend and complete college annually and are especially critical for students of color,” he said. “But for more than three decades, the portion of Pell Grants spent on non-tuition expenses like room and board has been taxable. Repealing the taxability of Pell Grants is a long-overdue, common-sense way to permit millions of students to retain more of this aid to cover the cost of college.”

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House advances two McHenry bills within NDAA

Two bills sponsored by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) were included in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was approved by the House of Representatives passed. Rep. Patrick McHenry The McHenry-sponsored bills included in the NDAA by the House are the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act and the Debt Bondage Repair Act. […]

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Two bills sponsored by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) were included in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was approved by the House of Representatives passed.

Rep. Patrick McHenry

The McHenry-sponsored bills included in the NDAA by the House are the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act and the Debt Bondage Repair Act.

“The NDAA is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress works on each year,” McHenry, the House Financial Services Committee’s lead Republican, said. “It protects our national security and ensures our troops have the resources they need. I’m proud to lead two critical, bipartisan provisions in this year’s package, alongside several Financial Services Committee Republican initiatives.”

The Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act promotes international competitiveness by preventing jobs in the digital asset industry from being pushed overseas by a lack of domestic regulatory clarity here at home, while the Debt Bondage Repair Act aids victims of trafficking in regaining financial freedom and rebuilding their lives.

Per the legislation, the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to establish a joint working group on digital assets.

“These provisions show what Congress can achieve when we come together to find targeted, bipartisan solutions to important issues facing the American people,” McHenry said.

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