May 9, 2011 / 10:00 PM / 6 years ago

Washington Extra - Bair necessity

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - Sheila Bair is ready to abandon the FDIC ship. Who can blame her? She weathered five stormy years at the helm, begrudgingly backed bailouts for failing financial giants, talked tough on bankster pay and butted heads with fellow regulators.

Come July 8, she’ll be off to the calmer waters of academia or maybe a non-profit. She has street cred, but she won’t use it to cash in on Wall Street, she has said. That would be too uncomfortable.

Bair, through a not-so-secret lobbying campaign, won the FDIC big new powers in the Dodd-Frank law. And yet, she won’t be around to put in play reforms that critics say were custom-designed for an FDIC with Bair as the top cop.

Bair also abandons a Holy Trinity of tough women regulators, leaving behind Elizabeth Warren and Mary Schapiro to ward off the spirits that want to roll back regulation. FDIC Vice Chairman Martin Gruenberg is Bair’s likely successor and while he may not have the Bair flash, he does appear to have the backbone.

Washington Extra is a daily newsletter about politics and economics in Washington, sent to subscribers by e-mail.

To be added to the mailing list on a complimentary basis, please email us at washingtonextra@thomsonreuters.com.

Here are our top stories from Washington:

U.S. pushes China on human rights as talks open

U.S. officials pushed China strongly to ease a crackdown against dissidents, taking a tough tone as they kicked off two days of talks meant to reduce diplomatic irritants. The talks -- which run on an economic front and a diplomatic one -- are aimed at letting the world’s two largest economies manage, if not resolve, their often tense policy differences. Both sides pledged to use the talks to that end. [ID:nN09229138]

Bair to step down as FDIC chairman in July

Sheila Bair, one of the most visible regulators who navigated the recent financial crisis, will leave the FDIC on July 8, the agency said. Bair began her five-year term as chairman in June 2006 and was known for tough talk against Wall Street excess. Throughout the financial crisis, she butted heads with other regulators by at times taking a firmer stance on taxpayer-backed bailouts. [ID:nN09252726]

Romney learns from ‘08 mistakes in White House run

One of the raps on Republican Mitt Romney in 2008 was he was too stiff, too much the millionaire businessman. So his supporters were delighted to see him unscripted at a New Hampshire gas station recently. Wearing jeans and an open-necked shirt instead of a dark suit, the man greeting customers at the gas pump was Romney The Sequel, a wiser, more experienced politician who is likely to be the Republican front-runner. [ID:nN06274822]

Republican Gingrich to announce 2012 White House run

Republican Newt Gingrich, who led a conservative resurgence in the mid-1990s as speaker of the House, will announce plans to run for president in 2012. “I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run,” Gingrich said on his Facebook page. He told supporters to watch a Fox News interview on Wednesday night where “I will be on to talk about my run for president of the United States.” [ID:nN09225516]

Boehner to provide new details on U.S. debt debate

With Wall Street anxious to hear what he has to say, House of Representatives Speaker Boehner will offer more details in a New York speech about his strategy in the battle over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit, an aide said. [ID:nN09257716]

Alice Rivlin, Washington’s budget guru

If Washington manages to strike a deal to fix the country’s finances over the long term, veteran of previous budget battles Alice Rivlin will probably have something to do with it. As lawmakers struggle to come up with a plan to tame the ballooning debt, many are inviting the diminutive economist to Capitol Hill to hear her thoughts. Or they are paging through one of the three separate deficit-reduction plans that she helped craft last year. They will almost certainly encounter something that will make them swallow hard. [ID:nN0698668]

To see what we are blogging on Front Row Washington, go to blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below