President Biden expresses solidarity toward Amazon workers seeking to unionize. In a video posted to Twitter, Mr. Biden avoided a direct endorsement of efforts to form a union at an Alabama warehouse. But he warned that “there should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda.”
Grilling Gary Gensler
Gary Gensler, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, fields questions regularly as a professor at M.I.T. But today, his audience consists of senators on the banking committee, who will vet his nomination by asking him about some of the same topics as his students — like cryptocurrency and financial market plumbing — in a more pointed fashion.
Republicans’ focus, a person familiar with the committee minority’s thinking told DealBook, will be on Mr. Gensler’s record as the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Barack Obama. They believe he revealed a tendency to “aggressively” advocate for regulation and stretch regulatory power to its limits. Their fear is that he will write rules to advance liberal policy priorities, citing climate change specifically.
Corporate climate disclosures will be a hot topic. The S.E.C. last week said it would look more closely at corporate climate statements, and Mr. Gensler’s opening statement calls for “strengthening transparency and accountability in our markets” in general. Democrats say they welcome this.
“I’ll be carefully watching Gary Gensler’s answers on issues like climate risk disclosure, corporate diversity, and investor protection,” said Tina Smith of Minnesota.
Bob Menendez of New Jersey intends to ask about increased disclosure of corporate political spending, a spokesperson said. He wants companies to reveal more about their donations and seek shareholder approval for spending.
Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is curious about the rules and limits on the timing and disclosure of insider stock trades.
And then there is GameStop. The committee chairman, Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, railed against Wall Street during the meme-stock frenzy, and that episode is sure to come up today. A spokesperson for Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, said that he intends to probe Mr. Gensler about payment for order flow.
The Bitcoin senator meets the blockchain professor. Cynthia Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, is the first senator to hold Bitcoin; she will focus on the nominee’s commitment to “financial regulations that foster innovation,” according to a spokesperson. Mr. Gensler, who teaches cryptocurrency courses at M.I.T. and is also a former Goldman banker, should be game. Alluding to his job at the intersection of finance and technology, the banker-turned-regulator-turned-academic cautiously acknowledged the promise of fintech in his statement and said rules must evolve with new tools.