May 7, 2017
Senate Finance Committee: Nominee Confirmation Hearing
Key Topics & Takeaways
- CFIUS Review Process: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) expressed concern about inbound foreign direct investment from Chinese state-owned-enterprises. David Malpass, nominee to be Under Secretary for International Affairs at Treasury, indicated that these are “complicated issues,” but expressed his commitment to ensuring that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) is well-resourced to thoroughly review the national security issues associated with inbound investments.
- 21st Century Glass-Steagall: Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) asked whether Treasury Secretary Mnuchin would propose a 21st Century Glass-Steagall in his report on policy proposals to improve financial regulation. Brent McIntosh, nominee to be General Counsel at Treasury, explained that he is not privy to those internal policy discussions, and he demurred on her request to share his views on the policy, citing his lack of expertise in this area.
- Eric D. Hargan, to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services
- David Malpass, to be Under Secretary for International Affairs, Treasury Department
- Andrew Maloney, to be Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Treasury Department
- Brent James McIntosh, to be General Counsel, Treasury Department
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
In his opening statement, Hatch expressed his gratitude that the Committee has returned to regular order to consider nominees, and indicated that the process would include “bipartisan input, comity, good faith, and a fair and robust vetting process.” He also called on the administration to “make it a top priority” to respond to Congressional oversight inquiries “regardless of party affiliation.” He also asked each nominee to commit to being “cooperative and responsive to congressional inquiries,” which they all agreed to do.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee
In his opening remarks, Wyden underscored the importance of the role for which David Malpass is nominated at the Treasury Department, which he said would be “extraordinarily difficult” under President Trump. He highlighted several inconsistent positions conveyed by administration officials on economic policy issues. Wyden also noted the importance of the position for which Brent McIntosh is nominated, particularly in “guaranteeing that sanctions and rules on foreign investment are enforced and adhered to.”
Wyden expressed concern that the White House has encouraged administration appointees to “ignore” oversight questions from congressional Democrats. He criticized the alleged move as a “disgrace” and “deeply undemocratic,” and urged administration officials to respond to Constitutionally-mandated oversight inquiries regardless of party affiliation.
Eric D. Hargan, to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services
In his opening statement, Hargan highlighted his experience working at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the George W. Bush Administration, which he said would inform his work if confirmed for this role. Hargan underscored the important role that HHS plays in “ensuring that the many programs Congress has committed to it are carried out well and faithfully, for the benefit of the millions of Americans who rely on them.” He also expressed his desire to “make a real and lasting difference in Americans’ lives and health.”
David Malpass, to be Under Secretary for International Affairs, Treasury Department
Malpass opened by stating that he is “deeply honored” by being nominated to lead the Treasury Department’s international efforts. He indicated that he is “ready and eager” to manage the U.S.’s role in multilateral financial institutions, supervise the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) process, coordinate global regulatory standards, among other tasks assigned to this position. Malpass highlighted his experience working for his family’s steel company, his public service, his time as the chief economist at Bear Stearns, as well as the company he founded, Encima Global. He also underscored his thought leadership on pro-growth economic policies, and promised to work closely with Congress in fulfilling the duties assigned to him, if confirmed.
Andrew Maloney, to be Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Treasury Department
Maloney recapped his extensive experience working in politics, both in the legislative branch as well as in government relations. He promised his “door will always be open” if confirmed for the legislative affairs role at Treasury.
Brent James McIntosh, to be General Counsel, Treasury Department, Secretary, Treasury Department
McIntosh indicated that he is “acutely aware” of the need to maintain a close working relationship with Congress to fulfill the duties of the office for which he is nominated. He recapped his experience working in the financial district in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and commended the “heroic” efforts by Treasury staff to counter terrorist financing and bolster national security. McIntosh also expressed his “steadfast dedication to the rule of law,” and shared that he will be guided by “fidelity to the Constitution” if confirmed by the Senate.
Question and Answer
CFIUS Review Process
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) expressed concern about inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) from Chinese state-owned-enterprises (SOEs), particularly transactions that reportedly are intended for China to acquire American intellectual property. Malpass indicated that these are “complicated issues,” but expressed his commitment to ensuring that CFIUS is well-resourced to thoroughly review the national security issues associated with inbound investments.
21st Century Glass-Steagall
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) asked whether Treasury Secretary Mnuchin would propose a 21st Century Glass-Steagall in his report expected under the Executive Order. McIntosh explained that he is not privy to those internal policy discussions, since he has not yet been confirmed for the role, and he demurred on her request to share his views on the policy, citing his lack of expertise in this area.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) lamented that the Treasury Department had not responded to his inquiry regarding the Norwegian’s “unfair tax advantage.” Malpass agreed to help examine the issue and attempt to arrange a briefing for the Senator on this issue, should he be confirmed.
Additional information about this event can be accessed here.