There is no shortage of issues that Congress or the Administration have an interest in further regulating, but these possibilities become real when there is also bipartisan support, a drumbeat of oversight, and significant public concern. Every scenario comes with hurdles, including economic impact, parochial interests, and precedent. And while these may not make it beyond the oversight phase, the sectors below are at risk of either (or both) legislative or regulatory action in the near-term:
Banks: In a town known for hyper-partisanship, the recent failure of two large banks unified some on both sides of the political aisle around opposition to any kind of “bailout.” A similar coalition formed during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, and this time it has also fueled a policy debate around what needs to be done to protect consumers and their deposits through more stringent regulation of the banks. There are many hurdles to overcome before a bipartisan solution is even a possibility, but there is clearly a bipartisan interest.
Railroads: While train derailments are not new (and we have all learned are also not all that infrequent), the derailment of a freight train carrying hazardous materials in East Palestine brought a considerable amount of attention to railroad safety. The impact on the local community has brought policymakers from across the aisle in alignment with a renewed focus on rail safety. Congressional committees and regulators are looking at what next steps could be, but efforts to “do more” are gaining momentum without having a direct solution in place yet.
Cryptocurrency: There is no question that the recent collapse of FTX and issues surrounding it has brought more scrutiny to cryptocurrency across the board. Like many of these issues, there is bipartisan support for action, a really good example of why more regulation may be needed, and the potential for Congress to align with the Administration on a fix.
Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs): PBMs effectively manage prescription drug benefits, and both pharmacies and drug companies have aggressively pushed back on fees and market control that PBMs have – a topic that is increasingly emerging in drug price discussions. The effort to resolve this issue is gaining support on Capitol Hill and has been the focus of bipartisan attention in the House and Senate. This is an issue that is tough to understand, but one that policymakers are getting educated on quickly and could be one that successfully navigates the partisan legislative process this Congress.