Wall Street CEOs Will Get Call to Face Senate Banking’s New Boss
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, wears a protective mask while departing from the Senate floor following a vote at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg)

Wall Street CEOs Will Get Call to Face Senate Banking’s New Boss

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown plans to haul in top Wall Street executives for public hearings after he takes the gavel as chairman of the chamber’s Banking Committee, a panel that he said has been too sympathetic to bankers in recent years.

The Ohio Democrat, who is poised to chair the panel after President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, said in comments to reporters on Tuesday that his first priority is addressing economic relief from the Covid-19 pandemic. But the long-time financial industry critic also put chief executive officers on notice to expect a call.

“They have a lot of power, and we need to know more about how they do their business,” Brown said. “The more we hear from them, the better.”

Brown said he’ll also direct more oversight at private equity as another top priority, though he didn’t offer specifics.

“I assume there will be legislation,” he said, adding that the committee will “take on the corporate business model that treats workers as expendable.”

Legislative Hurdles

While Brown will have control of the Banking Committee’s agenda and hearing schedule, passing major legislation through the full Senate may still be difficult because of the body’s coming 50-50 partisan split. The vice president will be the tie-breaking vote.

Brown said that the government’s coziness with the financial industry should end with the shift from Republican control, and that Trump administration hires should be either fired from regulatory agency jobs or moved to positions where they won’t matter.

“This committee in the past has been about Wall Street,” Brown said. “As chair I am going to make it about workers and their families and what matters for their lives.”

The committee will likely be busy initially weighing the confirmation of Biden’s nominees for financial regulation roles, such as Janet Yellen for Treasury secretary.

Brown added that he has stayed in touch with Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, and that she has “become a mentor and an adviser in many ways.”

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