Independent Agencies

December 02, 2021

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

ClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Climate Finance Capacity Project: Commodity Futures Trading Commission

The Biden Administration was elected to office with an urgent mandate to change our current trajectory towards catastrophic climate change. Climate-focused financial regulation, or the regulation of markets to accurately account for climate risk and the social and material costs of climate-damaging activities, must be a part of this coordinated federal response in order to meaningfully address climate concerns at the governmental level. An agency that is particularly key to this goal is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC is one of the smallest federal financial regulatory bodies and yet it is responsible for regulating one of the country’s largest markets, derivatives. While it was originally founded to regulate futures trading in commodities, the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 expanded the CFTC’s mandate to include swaps markets and broadened the agency’s role in regulating other derivatives, in part due to their extreme volatility and outsized role in the 2008 financial crisis. 

November 18, 2021 | The American Prospect

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive BranchIndependent AgenciesRevolving Door

How Biden Can Protect Students From Predatory For-Profit Colleges

The Biden administration inherited a morass of understaffed and undermined federal agencies, weakened by the Trump administration. It makes sense that building back the government’s capacity would be an uphill battle for the Biden administration, with so many years of policymaking undermined by his predecessor. What doesn’t make sense is the jarring number of cases in which the administration is going out of its way, at considerable cost, to uphold Trump-era policies that go against Biden’s stated agenda and the public interest.

November 17, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

ClimateDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchFederal ReserveIndependent AgenciesTreasury Department

After Infrastructure Week

Congressional selfies and self-congratulations inaugurated the week, but a lot of hard work remains to translate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) policies into real-life results. Given that those policies are (generously) middling and that the most promising ones are underfunded, turning these into winning programs will demand energy, creativity, competence, and a strong commitment to the public interest.

November 10, 2021

Dorothy Slater Hannah Story Brown

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateIndependent Agencies

A Fossil Fuel-Aligned Investment Executive Is Biden's Final Nominee to Manage Federal Retirement Funds

Harvard President Larry Bacow announced mid-afternoon on September 9th that the Ivy League university — whose 53.2 billion endowment exceeds the GDP of over 100 countries — would officially end its investments in fossil fuels. That announcement set off a domino reaction of divestment announcements from Dartmouth, the California State University system, Boston University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Toronto, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Netherlands’ largest pension fund, and hundreds of other groups. They appear to see the writing on the wall that fossil fuel investments, beyond being morally egregious, are also no longer profitable.

August 18, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Newsletter

ClimateDepartment of JusticeGovernment CapacityIndependent AgenciesUSPS

Who’s Afraid of Brett Kavanaugh’s Scorn?

The U.S. Court of Appeals is set to rule on the Biden Administration’s eviction moratorium sometime this week. No matter how it decides, however, it is already clear that those who argued against a new moratorium were wrong. A Trump judge has acknowledged that she must, begrudgingly, sustain it for now. By fighting, rather than preemptively surrendering, the administration has ensured that millions of Americans can stay in their homes for weeks longer. That is undoubtedly worth any embarrassment that government lawyers may feel from potentially eventually losing a case.