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Category Archives: Legislation

Federal Reserve releases results of supervisory bank stress tests

“The largest U.S.-based bank holding companies continue to build their capital levels and to strengthen their ability to lend to households and businesses during a period marked by severe recession and financial market volatility, according to the results of supervisory stress tests announced by the Federal Reserve on Thursday. The most severe hypothetical scenario projects that loan losses at the 31 participating bank holding companies would total $340 billion during the nine quarters tested. The “severely adverse” scenario features a deep recession with the unemployment rate peaking at 10 percent, a decline in home prices of 25 percent, a stock market drop of nearly 60 percent, and a notable rise in market volatility. The 31 firms’ aggregate tier 1 common capital ratio, which compares high-quality capital to risk-weighted assets, would fall from an actual 11.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014 to a minimum level of 8.2 percent in the hypothetical stress scenario. This hypothetical post-stress minimum is significantly higher than the 31 firms’ aggregate tier 1 common capital ratio of 5.5 percent measured in the beginning of 2009. Capital is important to banking organizations, the financial system, and the economy because it acts as a cushion to absorb losses and helps to ensure that losses are borne by shareholders, not taxpayers. The Federal Reserve’s stress scenario estimates are the outcome of deliberately stringent and conservative assessments under hypothetical economic and financial market conditions. The results are not forecasts or expected outcomes. This is the fifth round of stress tests led by the Federal Reserve since 2009 and the third round required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The 31 firms tested represent more than 80 percent of domestic banking assets. The Federal Reserve uses its own independent projections of losses and incomes for each firm. In addition to releasing results under the severely adverse hypothetical scenario, the Federal Reserve on Thursday also released results from the “adverse” scenario, which features a more moderate recession, but a rapid increase in short- and long-term interest rates. In this scenario, the aggregate tier 1 common capital ratio of all 31 firms would fall from an actual 11.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014 to the minimum level of 10.8 percent. The quantitative results from the Dodd-Frank stress tests are one component of the Federal Reserve’s analysis during the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), which is an annual exercise to evaluate the capital planning processes and capital adequacy of large financial institutions. CCAR results will be released on Wednesday, March 11, at 4:30 p.m. EDT.”

14 Consumer Groups Outline Shortcomings In WH Privacy Legislation

“Consumer Watchdog today joined 13 other public interest groups in a letter to President Obama outlining the shortcomings of the draft Consumer Privacy Bill Of Rights Act and pledging to work with the Administration and Congress to strengthen the “In 2 2012, you released your vision of the founding principles of consumer privacy — theContinue Reading

CRS – Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons, Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy. February 23, 2015. “The FY2013 Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310, Section 1037) indicated that it is the sense of Congress that “the United States should pursue negotiations with the Russian Federation aimed at the reduction of Russian deployed and nondeployed nonstrategic nuclear forces.” TheContinue Reading

Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis

Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis. N. Eric Weiss, Specialist in Financial Economics. February 23, 2015. “Data breaches, such as those at Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, JPMorgan Chase, and Anthem, have affected financial records of tens of millions of households and seem to occur regularly. Companies typically respond by trying to increaseContinue Reading

The Demographic Evolution of the American Electorate, 1974–2060

States of Change – The Demographic Evolution of the American Electorate, 1974–2060, Ruy Teixeira, William H. Frey, and Robert Griffin. February 2015. 10 big trends that are transforming America – “Trend 1 of 10: The rise of majority-minority and near-majority-minority states – The scale of race-ethnic transformation in the United States is stunning. In 1980,Continue Reading

The State of Congressional History

The State of Congressional History – “Periodic assessments of the state of congressional history and the work of federal and archival offices that promote it are of great value to scholars and their work. Fortunately, a panel on this topic at the 2014 annual meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government onContinue Reading

A Guide to the Supreme Court Argument in King v. Burwell

Kaiser Family Foundation – “On March 4, 2015, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in King v. Burwell, a case challenging the availability of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) premium subsidies in states with a Federally-run Marketplace (including states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) and states with a Partnership Marketplace). In addition to expandingContinue Reading

EPIC Challenges Samsung’s Surveillance of the Home, Files FTC Complaint

“EPIC has filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission about Samsung’s SmartTvs. “Samsung routinely intercepts and records the private communications of consumers in their homes,” EPIC wrote. EPIC detailed widespread consumer objections and charged that “privacy notices” do not diminish the harm to American consumers. In setting out the privacy violations, EPIC cited theContinue Reading

No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities

New on LLRX – No Paperwhite read-aloud for you! FCC again lets Amazon and friends diss people with disabilities.   David Rothman continues his reporting on the status of Text to Speech applications that have yet to be added to E-Ink readers due to the FCC’s extension of vendor exemptions from complying with a key benefitContinue Reading

2013 Toxic Release Inventory National Analysis

“Tens of thousands of chemicals are used by industries and businesses in the United States to make the products on which our society depends, such as pharmaceuticals, clothing, and automobiles. Many of the chemicals needed to create these products are toxic, and while the majority of toxic chemicals are managed so that they are notContinue Reading

Untested unregulated chemicals in consumer products are hazardous to your health

“GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals is a method for comparative chemical hazard assessment. It is used by a wide range of professionals, governmental bodies, non-profits, businesses, formulators, and product developers, and anybody interested in assessing the inherent hazards of chemicals and their potential effect on human health and the environment.” “Diseases of our modern age areContinue Reading

GAO Reports – HHS and Programs related to mental illness, Violation of Anti-Lobbying Provision and the Antideficiency Act

HHS Leadership Needed to Coordinate Federal Efforts Related to Serious Mental Illness, GAO-15-113, Published Dec 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 5, 2015: ““Agencies identified 112 federal programs that generally supported individuals with serious mental illness in fiscal year 2013. The majority of these programs addressed broad issues, such as homelessness, that can include individuals withContinue Reading