Bank breaker: U.S. Sen. James Lankford wanted to know last week what the failure of banks in California and New York had to with Oklahoma, especially after the Biden administration said it will assure that all depositors, including those surpassing the $250,000 FDIC limit, will be fully insured by assessing a fee on other banks.
“Let me tell you what’s happening in the next few months,” Lankford said in a floor speech on Tuesday. “Banks in Oklahoma in rural towns are about to pay a special fee to be able to bail out millionaires in San Francisco. Now, what Oklahoma banks and bankers had to do with that bank failure in San Francisco, I have no idea.”
Lankford said much the same on Fox News and during a Finance Committee hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin later in the week.
“What I’m asking is: Will my banks in Oklahoma pay a special assessment to be able to make Chinese investors whole in Silicon Valley Bank?” Lankford said.
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“Uninsured investors will be made whole in that bank, and I suppose that could include foreign depositors, but I don’t believe there is any legal basis to discriminate among uninsured depositors,” Yellen replied.
According to reports, 90% of depositors in California’s Silicon Valley Bank exceeded the $250,000 that is normally the limit of coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., commonly known as the FDIC.
The bank had a large number of Chinese depositors and investors. Its largest share-holder is an insurance company with ties to the Chinese government, and SVB’s Chinese affiliate, operated with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, was heavily involved in China’s tech industries and developing its financial sector.
Thus, the bank’s collapse has the potential to further strain the already delicate U.S.-China relationship.
But Lankford argued that the FDIC’s move to protect SVB and Signature Bank of New York depositors is a “backdoor tax” on everybody else and is causing money to be shifted from smaller institutions to “too-big-to-fail” ones on the theory that in case of a run the federal government will step in again.
Opening bid: Members the Republican Study Committee put energy production at the top of the list of concessions they want from the Biden administration in exchange for raising the debt limit, according to a release by RSC Chairman and Oklahoma 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern’s office.
That’s a little bit of a surprise, given the emphasis put on debt and deficit when Republicans took control of the House two months ago. But it’s probably fair to say the debt-and-deficit votes were split among several more specific categories, including “cut discretionary spending,” “fully offset the debt limit increase” and “debt to GDP targets.”
Hern surveyed the RSC, a caucus that includes a majority of House Republicans, in anticipation of the debt limit fight.
“The first step is admitting that both sides have contributed to our spending problem in the two decades since our last budget surplus,” Hern said in a memo to the membership. “Republicans and Democrats alike have ignored the debt as it grew and grew; we can ignore it no longer.”
One more brick: Second District Congressman Josh Brecheen joined the parade of Republican House and Senate members to the southern U.S. border to proclaim Biden administration and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failures at keeping illegal immigrants out.
Brecheen asked U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz if he disagreed with Biden’s decision to stop construction of a wall begun by the Trump administration, to which Ortiz replied, “Yes, sir.”
Hern, meanwhile, tweeted: “We must impeach Secretary Mayorkas. He’s failed to protect Americans at the border. Biden is unwilling to hold his Cabinet members accountable, so Congress will.”
Dots and dashes: Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole told Reuters he favors an independent commission to come up with a way to put Social Security back on sound long-term financial footing. … Lankford and Mullin voted ‘nay’ on a procedural vote leading to the repeal of the authorizations of the use of military force originally enacted for the first Gulf War in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. … The two senators supported a resolution to block an effort to declare the Equal Rights Amendment adopted even though the original time limit for ratification expired in 1979. … Cole was part of a delegation visiting Taiwan. … Breechen signed onto legislation that would make qualifying for food stamp benefits more difficult to obtain for those ages 50-65. … Mullin is part of a bi-partisan group pushing for more federal impact aid, which goes to school districts affected by large federal land holdings, such as military bases, which shrink the local property tax base. … Mullin is the new co-chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World