Clearing skies on tap as Tropical Storm Philippe rolls out to sea

Tropical Storm Philippe rolled on by and out to sea in the early hours of Sunday, leaving South Florida with some substantial rainfall totals but largely unscathed by winds, authorities said.

At 8 am Sunday the storm was racing to the northeast, with its center located about 55 miles north of Grand Bahama Island, or 100 miles east of Vero Beach.

Top sustained winds were 50 miles an hour, forecasters said.

The disorganized center of the system passed over the Florida Straits and the southeastern edge of Miami-Dade County about 3 or 4 a.m., according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.

The storm, which formed just before 5 p.m. Saturday, had sustained winds of just over 39 miles an hour, which qualified it as a tropical storm, but most of those winds were on the eastern side and remained offshore.

A tropical storm watch was issued for coastal South Florida from Miami-Dade to the Upper Keys on Saturday.

Heavy rains lashed parts of South Florida beginning Saturday afternoon from the fringes of the fast-moving storm, and at least two tornadoes were reported. One was in the area of Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County, and another in Sweetwater in Miami-Dade County, according to National Weather Service forecaster Larry Kelly.

Survey teams would be out Sunday to document any damage, Kelly said.

Among rainfall totals reported for the 24 hour period ending at 5 a.m. Sunday were up to 10 inches in Lighthouse Point; 5.07 inches at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport; 6.71 inches at Palm Beach International Airport; and 5.62 inches in Boca Raton.

A flood watch had been issued for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties through 8 a.m. Sunday, with two to four inches of rain possible, and six inches in isolated areas.

The winds did damage some structures Saturday, including several mobile homes in Boynton Beach, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Crews responded just after 6 p.m. to reports of damaged homes near the 4000 block of 88th Court South inside Parry Trailer Village.

Crews reported moderate damage to the homes and debris throughout the neighborhood. Firefighters went through the neighborhood looking for any possible victims and assessing the damage, Captain Albert Borroto said.

Philippe is expected to move over the open western Atlantic by Sunday afternoon. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph with higher gusts. Some additional slight strengthening is forecast during the next day or so.

However, Philippe is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone by Sunday night, and be absorbed by an extra-tropical low on Monday, according to the forecast.

In Philippe’s wake South Florida will be left with gradually clearing skies and falling temperatures. Today high in Fort Lauderdale is expected to be near 81 degrees and breezy, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

The chance of rain is 40 percent.

Tonight’s low under clear skies is around 52.

The outlook for Monday is sunny with a high near 72, a north wind of 6 to 9 mph.

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Clayton Kershaw versus Dallas Keuchel could swing the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros World Series

8:20 AM ET
  • Jerry CrasnickESPN Senior Writer senior writer Author of "License to Deal" Former Denver Post national baseball writer

HOUSTON -- The players who populate the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers postseason rosters don't have the luxury of sitting back, taking a deep breath and enjoying their involvement in what could turn out to be a classic World Series. They're too immersed in individual confrontations, the inning-by-inning strategy and all the other minutia that makes October baseball such a challenge and a joy to relive and dissect.

But the view from 30,000 feet says this series is starting to develop that special feel of one that people might be talking about for a while.


Keep up with the latest as baseball's top teams contend for the title.

Ultimate playoff guide » | WS Picks »
Kershaw-Keuchel could swing series »
Is this a classic WS in the making? »
Bellinger's bat warms up in G4 win »
Giles less a part of Astros' pen puzzle »
One fan's road to Astros superfandom »
• Insider:
Projections » | Player ranking »
Schedule » | Complete coverage »

After four games and multiple plot twists, we've arrived at a potential crossroads and a new nightly theme for Game 5: really good left-handed pitchers with Cy Young Awards and beards, ready to hook up in what should be a doozy.

The Dodgers will send out Clayton Kershaw on Sunday night, while the Astros counter with Dallas Keuchel in a rematch from Game 1 in Los Angeles. Short of a Kershaw-Justin Verlander confrontation -- which might make Minute Maid Park spontaneously combust -- this is about as compelling as October baseball can get.

"It's fast. It moves. The NLDS seems like it was forever ago," Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said. "It's the same thing every night. You sit in bed waiting for the next day. You can't stop thinking. You can't stop game-planning. You can't stop trying to get ready.

"We've been talking about it all year, winning [this] series. We had to win the best of seven. Then it turned into a best of five, and now it's the best of three."

When the Dodgers beat the Astros 6-2 on Saturday night, it marked the 45th time in history that a World Series was tied at two wins each. Of the previous 44 occasions, the victorious team in Game 5 has gone on to take the series 29 times (or 65.9 percent of the time). It might be of some comfort to the Astros to know that of those 44 times, the home team has been victorious 26 times (or 59.1 percent of the time).

But each series takes on a mind of its own, and this Houston-Los Angeles matchup has featured enough plots twists and momentum shifts to give everyone a case of emotional whiplash. The teams went from scorching, 100-degree heat in California to a climate-controlled bubble in Texas, and from Kershaw's brilliance in Game 1 to the Astros' stunning, late-inning and home-run fueled resilience to win 7-6 in an 11-inning Game 2.

After Houston's 5-3 victory in Game 3, there was reason to wonder if the Astros would lose another game at home. Until they did. And now the Houston bullpen, which looked so nifty when Brad Peacock was twirling 3 ⅔ hitless innings Friday, looks suspect again after yet another meltdown by Astros closer Ken Giles.

The Dodgers' victory Saturday ensures that the Astros will not be able to wrap things up at home as a gift to their devoted fan base. They will not become the first team to log an 8-0 record at home in a single postseason. And if they want to avoid returning to Dodger Stadium in a position of extreme duress for Game 6, they'll have to beat Kershaw, who is generally regarded as the best pitcher on the planet.

  • image

    Dramatic home runs. Dominant pitching. Four close games. Here's how the 2017 Series measures up to other great Series matchups (so far).

  • image

    The closer's nightmare postseason continued on the biggest stage as the Dodgers did what no team could this October: beat the Astros in Houston.

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Kershaw has been good enough this postseason, so much so that it's becoming harder to remember his former reputation as a guy who underachieved in October. He's 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA in four starts against the Diamondbacks, Cubs and Astros, despite a nagging case of home run-itis this month. Of the eight runs he has given up this postseason, seven have come on home-run balls.

"We've got our guy on the mound tomorrow, and you're always going to feel excited, positive and confident," Seager said. "He's just the best. There's no other way around it. He's the best."

Keuchel was strong against Boston and New York in the American League playoffs, and he dueled Kershaw on even terms for much of the World Series opener before being done in by a two-run homer from Justin Turner. His 6-3 record, 2.26 ERA and .187 batting average against at Minute Maid Park during the regular season suggest Keuchel is right in his sweet spot on the mound in Houston.

Offensively, the nightly vagaries of the series make it hard to predict what will transpire in Game 5. Just when it appeared the Houston lineup was back in its comfort zone and ready to rock, the Astros went 2-for-28 against Alex Wood and the Los Angeles bullpen in Game 4. With the exception of solo homers by George Springer and Alex Bregman, the night was a washout offensively for A.J. Hinch's team.

Conversely, the Dodgers have reason to feel more hitter-ish and upbeat about their prospects if they can get into Houston's wobbly bullpen. Joc Pederson busted things open with a three-run homer off Joe Musgrove on Saturday, and Cody Bellinger rebounded from a four-strikeout game (and a 0-for-13 start to the Series) with a pair of doubles. The outside world might have wondered if Bellinger were tired, out of sync or pressing, but his fellow Dodgers claimed they never fretted about him in the slightest.

"He's got no pulse," Seager said. "He really doesn't have a memory, either. He forgets things. Things go away. That's what you have to do in baseball. You have to forget the past, forget your last AB and move on to the next one."

The feisty attitude in the Houston clubhouse after Game 4 was embodied by Bregman, whose confidence and aggressive mindset know no bounds. When Bregman wasn't sending a Kenley Jansen slider into the Crawford Boxes, he was catching everything at third base and throwing out yet another runner at home plate.

Bregman is so pumped for Game 5 to get under way, he's probably upset the security folks won't let him sleep at the ballpark.

"It's gonna be a battle," Bregman said. "I can't wait. I know everyone in here wishes the game was right now. We're ready to go. This is the World Series, and it's going to be a dogfight. The two best teams are the two teams left standing -- and I know we're not gonna back down."

A long season is nearing an end, and the Astros and Dodgers are ready for the next plot twist. It's Kershaw vs. Keuchel in Game 5. May the best left-hander win.


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The Latest: Tens of thousands call for Spanish unity Washington Post

Nationalist activists march with Catalan, Spanish and European Union flags during a mass rally against Catalonia’s declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Thousands of opponents of independence for Catalonia held the rally on one of the city’s main avenues after one of the country’s most tumultuous days in decades. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press) By Associated Press By Associated Press October 29 at 7:29 AM BARCELONA, Spain — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local): 12:20 p.m. Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many of them carrying Spanish and official “senyera” Catalan flags, have gathered on a central Barcelona boulevard in a call for Spain’s unity. The atmosphere was festive, as many cheered politicians and central government officials who joined the march. Some chanted “Puigdemont, to jail!” referring to the ousted regional leader who has been fired along with his Cabinet by the Spanish government after an independence declaration Friday. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has also dissolved Catalonia’s parliament and called a regional election for Dec. 21. Demonstrators are chanting “Now yes, we are going to vote!” and applauding every time a national police helicopter flies over the crowd. “This is our police!” they chanted. ___ 11:40 a.m. The regional leader of one of Spain’s main parties that wants to keep the country united has called on a massive turnout at a rally to protest the declaration of independence by Catalonia’s parliament. Ines Arrimadas of the Citizens party says “today the silent majority of Catalans are once again taking to the street to show that the majority of Catalans feel Catalan, Spanish and European.” Arrimadas urged those Catalans in favor of remaining in Spain to vote for pro-union parties in a regional election on Dec. 21. The Spanish government used extraordinary powers given to it by the Senate to fire the regional government of Catalonia and dissolve its parliament after it voted in favor of secession on Friday. Arrimadas says “we will go out to win (the elections) and give Catalans the chance to recover our future.” ___ 11:30 a.m. Organizers say that a march calling for the unity of Spain in downtown Barcelona should claim the streets for all Catalans and not only for those in support of the region’s independence. Alex Ramos, president for the pro-union Societat Civil Catalana grassroots platform, says: “We have organized ourselves late, but we are here to show that there is a majority of Catalans that are no longer silent and that no longer want to be silenced.” Pro-union forces have made a call for defeating separatists in an early regional election on Dec. 21. The vote has been called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy after dismissing the Catalan government and dissolving the regional parliament where independence was proclaimed. Commenting on the regional separatist leader Carles Puigdemont’s refusal to step down, the leader of the pro-business center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) party Albert Rivera said separatists were “living in a parallel reality.” Rivera told reporters “this is not the time to live in a ‘matrix’ type of reality. It’s time to take over the streets and take over the ballot boxes.” ___ 11:20 a.m. The ousted vice president of Catalonia’s rebellious government has left open the possibility that secessionist parties will participate in a regional election called by Spain’s central government. Oriol Junqueras wrote in an open letter published Sunday in Catalan newspaper El Punt-Avui that separatist forces must “continue forward . without ever renouncing the ballot boxes.” Junqueras, regional president Carles Puigdemont and the rest of their top government officials were fired by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday a day after Catalonia’s Parliament voted in favor of a declaration of independence for the northeastern region. Rajoy also announced that he was dissolving the Catalan Parliament and called regional elections for December 21 in hopes that pro-union parties can take back the majority in the region’s legislative chamber. ___ 10:30 a.m. Hundreds of people opposing Catalan independence have begun gathering in central Barcelona before what is expected to be a major demonstration in favor of Spain’s unity. The protesters, waving Spanish flags, were to march later in the day through part of the city center. The demonstration comes two days after Catalonia’s separatist lawmakers voted to secede from Spain. The move was met by the central government in Madrid triggering unprecedented constitutional powers to take control of the region’s affairs. Organizers of Sunday’s march say its goal is to defend Spain’s unity and reject “an unprecedented attack in the history of democracy.” Their slogan will be “We are all Catalonia. Common sense for coexistence!” Members of the central government and main pro-union parties are expected to join. Three weeks ago, the same group organized a mass rally that brought hundreds of thousands onto Barcelona’s streets. ___ 10:20 a.m. A Belgian government official says it would be “not unrealistic” for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to ask for asylum and warns it would create serious diplomatic difficulties with fellow European Union member state Spain. Asylum State Secretary Theo Francken tweeted early Sunday that “it is possible to ask for asylum as an EU subject” in Belgium. Francken stressed that Belgium wasn’t seeking such a scenario, saying “I’m not rolling out the welcome mat.” Francken added that if such a request would come in, “we’d enter a difficult diplomatic situation with the Spanish authorities. That is evident.” There has been no indication that Puigdemont has requested asylum after Spain took control of Catalonia’s government and dismissed its leaders, including Puigdemont, after regional lawmakers voted to declare independence from Spain. ___ 8:35 a.m. Catalonia’s main city Barcelona is bracing for a new day of protests over an independence declaration that led to the regional government’s dismissal by Spain. Societat Civil Catalan has called for those who oppose Catalan independence to march at noon Sunday (1100 GMT; 7 a.m. EDT). Organizers say the march’s goal is to defend Spain’s unity and reject “an unprecedented attack in the history of democracy.” Their slogan will be “We are all Catalonia. Common sense for coexistence!” Members of the central government and main pro-union parties are expected to join. Three weeks ago, the same group organized a mass rally that brought hundreds of thousands onto Barcelona’s streets. No pro-independence marches were expected Sunday. Catalonia’s ousted leader has called for Catalans to engage in peaceful opposition. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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The Finance 202: Trump team orphans House Dodd-Frank rollback


imageTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

It’s been four days since House Republicans approved their proposal to dismantle regulations of the financial industry. It might as well have been as many years. Every interested party besides the House GOP itself is already treating the package, officially the Financial CHOICE Act, like ancient history. 

Network news broadcasts have not mentioned the House vote; their cable counterparts have acknowledged it only in passing. 

Lobbying groups for Wall Street heavies have handled the bill, in the words of one industry lawyer, as if they were “humoring a dotty rich grandfather to avoid being disinherited.” Those groups — the American Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association — issued tepid statements of support for moving the process along without endorsing the actual measure. And in detailed submissions to the Senate Banking Committee, made earlier this year and posted online last week, they didn't discuss the House approach at all. 

Most notably, an administration not known for nuance has played unusually coy. The president — who, to be fair, had a whopper of a distraction on the day of the House vote — posted a single tweet about the CHOICE Act, 17 hours after the fact:

Congratulations to Jeb Hensarling & Republicans on successful House vote to repeal major parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law. GROWTH!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The official statement of administration policy expressed support for the package as a “necessary and important step” in a process that now moves to the Senate. And in a Saturday night appearance on Fox News, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, neglected to include it in a list of the administration’s “wins” from the past week:

Counselor to The President, @KellyannePolls joined me on 'Justice'. Take a look!

— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine)

Financial regulation doesn’t animate voters the way that, say, the debate over health care does: It’s harder to get exercised about a proposed repeal of the Volcker Rule than the specter of losing insurance coverage for a preexisting condition. So some of the lack of attention to the House action owes to a deficit of general interest in the finer policy points. 

But the Trump team’s orphaning of the plan spearheaded by House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is also a leading indicator of the administration’s intent to tack in a different direction, one more likely to hew to the industry’s preference for tweaking Dodd-Frank at the margins.

The floor debate over the House bill featured some histrionics about how the measure effectively fulfilled the industry’s deregulatory wish list. “This legislation releases every bloodthirsty, greedy Wall Street super-predator back onto the American people to feast on our misery, like they did pre-Dodd-Frank,” Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) said, in an especially vivid example of the critique. A more accurate appraisal came from Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), who said the bill “makes even some moderate Republicans deeply uncomfortable” — not because it offered a craven giveaway to industry, but because it was “an ideological document.” In that regard, it's telling that Hensarling's bill earned endorsements from the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity but none of the big bank lobbies.


#CHOICEAct will discourage big institutions from engaging in risky and irresponsible behavior that hurts consumers

— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action)

That's in part because big banks have adjusted to some features of the post-crisis regime. For example, most Wall Street brokerages have shifted away from a commission-based model for retirement accounts in anticipation of a Labor Department rule that took effect on Friday. So the urgency has dissipated for those firms to repeal the so-called fiduciary rule. And the industry wants to preserve the authority that Dodd-Frank handed the FDIC to unwind a failing financial firm. 

The Treasury Department today is set to unveil recommendations for easing regulations on the industry that reportedly reflect that reality. A Politico report on the document — the first in a series detailing the administration's roadmap for financial deregulation — said it will propose "modest revisions" to existing rules.

Those could include new limits on the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and an exemption for smaller banks from the Volcker Rule, which bans certain risky investments. Both would be consistent with statements Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made before his confirmation earlier this year. He advocated keeping both of those Dodd-Frank creations, with some changes, including subjecting the CFPB to congressional funding. (Senate Democrats will call any attempt to significantly alter the CFPB's structure a deal-killer.)

So it appears House Republicans have done Mnuchin a favor, if unintentionally. Kicking off the debate with a libertarian bill gives the former Goldman Sachs executive plenty of space to stake out some middle ground. "For Treasury, it makes more sense to strongly advocate realistic reforms rather than push a bunch of things that aren't going to happen and then look like they've lost," Ian Katz of Capital Alpha Partners wrote in a note to clients on Sunday night. "Treasury has a chance to be a key part of the discussion, and it will have more credibility if it presses for reforms that have a chance of getting through Congress."


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imageFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


--Mnuchin has a more pressing problem than how to craft and position his deregulatory agenda: The Treasury is swiftly approaching the limit of it borrowing authority.

So the Treasury secretary has been admonishing lawmakers to lift the debt ceiling before quitting town for the August recess. At a news conference in Canada on Friday, he sought to temper the demand with a reassurance, indicating he's got "plans and backup plans for funding the government" at least into September if Congress fails to act, my colleague Damian Paletta reports:

Asked at the news conference what sort of powers or backup plans he has if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, Mnuchin said with a smile, “Treasury secretary superpowers.” He didn’t respond to questions about whether this included plans to sell off U.S. assets, such as the gold reserve.

“We will be fine, okay, if they don’t do it beforehand,” Mnuchin said, “but I would emphasize that I think the sooner they do it, the less uncertainty there is in the market, and it is important to send a clear signal to the market that, again, this is not an issue.”

--So far, Mnuchin is having an easier time working his will inside the administration.

He's set to pick Brian Brooks, a former colleague from OneWest Bank, as his No. 2 at Treasury, as Axios first reported over the weekend. Brooks, now Fannie Mae's general counsel, is stepping in after Mnuchin's first pick, Goldman executive Jim Donovan, backed out citing personal reasons.

Brooks, a former OneWest vice chairman, will become the second alum of the outfit in as many weeks tapped for a top administration job, after Trump nominated onetime OneWest CEO Joseph Otting to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. 

— The Federal Reserve is likely to hike interest rates for the fourth time since December 2015 when it meets this week. But that tightening has yet to be felt on Wall Street, where stocks continue to rally and bond yields have fallen, conditions that typically spur faster economic growth. The Wall Street Journal writes that the mismatch could prompt the Fed to embrace a strategy of raising rates more aggressively than it had planned.

Investors will also be watching for what the Fed says about unwinding its balance sheet, a process expected to start later this year.

— The president took to Twitter on Sunday to take credit for the economy’s performance:

The #FakeNews MSM doesn't report the great economic news since Election Day. #DOW up 16%. #NASDAQ up 19.5%. Drilling & energy sector...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

...way up. Regulations way down. 600,000 new jobs added. Unemployment down to 4.3%. Business and economic enthusiasm way up- record levels!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The statements came at the end of a week that the White House intended to dedicate to its infrastructure agenda. But the failure of that message to break through the storm of controversy surrounding the Russia probe became a punchline. Even Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein got in on the joke:

Just landed from China, trying to catch up.... How did "infrastructure week" go?

— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein)

The stakes for dozens of transit projects across the U.S., however, is very real. As Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis reported Friday, projects from Phoenix to Pittsburgh, and the thousands of jobs associated with them, face an uncertain future, because the administration has indicated it wants to take a new approach to their funding. 

Congressional aides say projects that are further along and more dependent on federal funding to finish up are in the most jeopardy: 
“The projects that are most at risk, they said, include some that have moved through the funding pipeline for years but are just short of final approval. Many are in states that Trump won last year, and they include a light-rail platform-lengthening project in Texas, a streetcar line in Arizona, and a bus rapid-transit line in Indiana.”


Stock market volatility hits 24-year low

The VIX index of stock market volatility continues to fall, and on Friday hitting its lowest level since December 1993. The 9.37 mark is less than half of the VIX's historical average, and suggests market certainty despite widespread geopolitical tumult and technological disruption of existing industries.

Dan Primack




imageTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a discussion at the Independent Community Bankers of America capital summit. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)


  • The House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a budget hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
  • The Peterson Institute will host a book launch for “The Right Balance for Banks: Theory and Evidence on Optimal Capital Requirements.”

Coming up

  • The Peterson Institute will host a conference on Tuesday on "A Positive NAFTA Renegotiation.”
  • First daughter Ivanka Trump and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta are set to travel to Wisconsin to president on Tuesday to promote the administration’s goal to expand apprenticeships and opportunities for students to gain skills-based education.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the Senate Budget Committee on the 2018 fiscal year budget on Tuesday.
  • The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will have an executive session on Tuesday to vote on Kevin Allen Hassett to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Pamela Hughes Patenaude to be Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Vice President Pence is scheduled to give the keynote address at the conference of Prosperity and Security in Central America. The event will be hosted in Miami on June 15.



The District of Columbia and Maryland will file a lawsuit against President Trump alleging a breach of constitutional oath for accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since moving into the White House:

President Trump capped off his "Infrastructure Week" with a speech, saying that "Americans deserve the best infrastructure:" 

Watch Stephen Colbert talk about the "dramatic conclusion to Donald Trump's Infrastructure Week": 

"Every day you're talking about Jim Comey and not the American people, their needs and their desires, their hopes and their dreams, you're making a mistake," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said about President Trump. "At the end of the day he's got a good agenda, but this does get in the way of it." 

What U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's tepid win means for Britain:


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Dodd-Frank Rollback Tops Regulatory Landscape |

Share Tweet Share Share Share Email In examining what was the top of mind news amid regulatory reforms and action, the biggest event (stateside at least) was, of course, the legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives to roll back tenets of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Passed strictly along party lines (with Republicans voting aye, Democrats voting nay), the vote was mostly symbolic in nature, as the bill, the Financial Choice Act, has little chance of being passed “as is” in the Senate, which is also working on its own legislative overhaul targeting financials. As has been noted extensively in the press, President Donald Trump and Republicans have long stated since the 2016 campaign that they would seek to gut the Dodd-Frank Act and unwind a large swath of regulations. Among the key tenets of the newly-passed Act, there would be the elimination of the orderly liquidation authority, which would help larger financial institutions unwind in the wake of a financial crisis.  Separately, the Act would also eliminate the so-called “fiduciary rule,” which mandates that brokers must act in the best interest of their clients when offering investment advice. And, seemingly always in the news, has been the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which, under this piece of legislation, has proposed that the President can fire the Bureau’s director at will — a key point of contention wending its way through courts and beyond. One key appointment in shaping de-regulation, as it may be handed down in Congressional legislation, also came this week as President Trump named Joseph Otting the new Comptroller of the Currency, with, as noted, key oversight of chartered banks. Otting had served as CEO from 2010 to 2015 of OneWest Bank and worked with current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. As with all nominations, a Senate confirmation is necessary, and should that happen, Otting would have at least some interplay with efforts to scale back Dodd-Frank. Also in the halls of Washington, D.C., the CFPB stated that — in a reversal of earlier positions stated by the Bureau — first-party creditors (such as banks) are, in fact, responsible for the accuracy of information that is germane to consumer debts. That policy decision, announced by Director Richard Cordray, would mark a shift from earlier contention that third-party debt collectors were, in fact, on the hook for ensuring and maintaining accuracy in those reports. On a bit of a larger stage — think of the world stage in this case — the U.K. saw a surprise outcome in an election that had Prime Minister Theresa May looking for a boost to her mandate for a “hard” Brexit. That, of course, didn’t happen, as May’s Conservative Party became a minority literally days before negotiations on the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU were bound to begin. The roadmap has become convoluted, while May has said that negotiations will proceed as planned. The issue now is “hard” vs. “soft” Brexit, with the former as a rather complete severance from the EU, and the latter a series of likely compromises on items as diverse as “passporting,” taxes and trade agreements.
Brexit, CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Dodd-Frank Act, Featured News, financial choice act, News, President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May, regulations, regulatory tracker, Richard Cordray, U.K., U.S. Congress


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Words You'll Hear: Dodd-Frank : NPR

This week NPR's Lakshmi Singh speaks with Raj Date, former Deputy Director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about the House bill to scale back Dodd-Frank financial regulations.


We're going to head back to the U.S. now for Words You'll Hear. That's where we try to understand stories in the news by parsing words connected to it. Today, the words are Dodd-Frank. That's the 2010 law that gave Wall Street new rules of the road to prevent another recession.

Last week, the House passed a Republican bill rolling back large parts of Dodd-Frank. While that bill isn't expected to go far in the Senate, the move could build momentum for other changes. To find out more, we reached Raj Date. He's a former deputy director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and, now, runs a small investment firm called Fenway Summer. I began by asking him to remind us what Dodd-Frank does.

RAJ DATE: Let me just clear up the first confusion that people might have. Like, what is a Dodd, and what is a Frank? It's the name of the big Wall Street reform package, named after the head of the Senate Banking Committee at the time and the head of the House Financial Services Committee at the time, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. If you think back - and, hopefully, people can still remember - the sort of calamitous financial crisis that faced the United States - and, indeed, the world - back in 2007, 2008, 2009. Unemployment doubled. Millions of people lost their homes.

It was bad on pretty much every way in which you would evaluate the performance of the financial system. We had terrible decisions that were made. We had firms that were close to bankruptcy and insolvency as a result. We had a system that allowed one firm's problems to metastasize and affect other firms. And then, finally, we had regulators that seemed to be one or two steps behind every step of the way. And so what Dodd-Frank essentially tried to do is take a universal approach to changing Wall Street and banking regulation that would fix each of those problems.

SINGH: So what's your take on the House bill to undo parts of Dodd-Frank?

DATE: Number one, it suffers from mischaracterizing the impact of Dodd-Frank. The bank systems bigger, it's more profitable, better capitalized. Oh, and by the way, consumers have better credit scores than they ever have. Household balance sheets have improved. Unemployment is low. So it rests on a series of premises that are not exactly true. And then, it systematically dismantles some of the most important bulwarks put in place by Dodd-Frank.

So, for example, Dodd-Frank sought to create standards to prevent really bad decisions from being made. Well, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is something that was meant to look out for actual households and actual consumers and protect them from some of the most scandalously terrible ideas in the pre-crisis mortgage market. Well, this bill, the Choice Act, eviscerates the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Dodd-Frank was meant to create more resilient banks through things like stress tests and the so-called Volcker Rule. The Choice Act eviscerates those things.

SINGH: The debate that's underway on the fate of Dodd-Frank - as an average person, what do I stand to lose, and what do I stand to gain under any changes that occur to Dodd-Frank under this House bill or any potential compromise?

DATE: So the biggest thing that households have to lose is to have a very large, very important financial sector to once again get completely unmoored from what are sensible ways to structure products and offer them to customers. Remember at ground zero of the financial crisis, were individual mortgages made to individual households that never had a prayer of being repaid. These should be worried, as average households, about whether or not that set of practices and that kind of thinking left unrestricted will return.

The best thing to gain is if we can reintroduce sensible risk taking into a bank sector that, in some areas, appears to have withdrawn from it. By that, I mean, the banking system is meant to take risks. When you make a loan to a small business - we're investors in platforms that make loans to small businesses - that's risky. Small businesses are - what's the word? - small. And it's - they are not especially resilient to recessions. But you should want them to be able to borrow money to be able to build their franchises to be able to hire people to be able to put more work into the communities in which they serve.

SINGH: That's Raj Date. He's the former deputy director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He joined us in studio. Raj, thank you so much.

DATE: Thank you for having me.

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