In this week’s roundup, we take a look at Congress, which is the midst of hammering out a second stimulus package that could be unveiled before the end of the week. We also summarize the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates low until 2023, and the newest members of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee.
Pandemic Relief Bill Takes Shape
- After months of a bitter stalemate and as millions of Americans have been eager for relief, congressional leaders are finally indicating they’re nearing a deal on a new rescue package that could pass both chambers within days. [CNN, Manu Raju and Clare Foran]
- Congressional leaders are near an agreement to add a new round of stimulus checks to a roughly $900 billion relief package as they rush to complete a deal before the end of the week, according to three people familiar with the talks granted anonymity to share internal deliberations. [The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Mike DeBonis]
- While the details were not yet final, the plan was also expected to provide billions of dollars for vaccine distribution, schools and small businesses, but omit coronavirus liability protections long sought by Republicans and a dedicated funding stream for state and local governments insisted upon by Democrats — the two most contentious sticking points. [The New York Times, Emily Cochrane]
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sounded upbeat on Wednesday morning about the progress that the top four congressional leaders had made over the last 24 hours. He said he believed the impending compromise can pass both the House and Senate and gain support from both parties. [Politico, Jake Sherman, Burgess Everett and Heathher Caygle]
Fed Recommits to Keep Rates Low Until 2023, Predicts Stronger Growth in 2021
- Fed officials elevated their outlook on the economy since the last forecast in September, indicating the central bank will likely keep interest rates near current levels for the foreseeable future.
- At the conclusion of the final meeting of the Fed’s decisionmaking body in 2020, the Federal Open Market Committee once again unanimously voted to keep the central bank’s benchmark rate within the 0%-0.25% range, which will maintain cheap lending in an effort to provide uplift to the U.S. economy.
- The committee said it expects to maintain this near-zero target range until the labor market has reached maximum employment.
- Along with its decision on interest rates, the FOMC also released a set of economic projections, which indicated that interest rates could be kept low until 2023.
- Economic growth projections have also improved, according to Fed statistics. The expectation for 2020 is now a decline of 2.4%, compared with the negative 3.7% in September. The outlook for 2021 is now at 4.2% compared with 4% previously and 3.2% in 2022 against 3%. The outlook from there was reduced just slightly, to 2.4% from 2.5% in 2023 and 1.8% from 1.9% over the long run. [CNBC, Jeff Fox]
SEC Announces New Investor Advisory Committee Members
- The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the appointment of eight new members to its Investor Advisory Committee.
- The Committee was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to, among other things, advise the Commission on regulatory priorities, regulation of securities products, trading strategies, fee structures, disclosure effectiveness, and initiatives to help protect investors and promote investor confidence and the integrity of the U.S. securities markets.
- See a full list of the new members here.
- The Investor Advisory Committee’s next meeting will take place March 11, 2021.
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Benjamin Glick is an associate editor of Middle Market Growth.