On The Money — Lawmakers point fingers after FTX implodes

We bring you Washington, D.C.’s reaction to the collapse of one of the most prominent and politically connected cryptocurrency firms. We’ll also look at a race to avert a shutdown before a new Congress is sworn in and what a housing market correction could mean for you.

🎟️ But first, see why progressives (and Taylor Swift fans) want to break up Ticketmaster.

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan LaneAris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Someone forward you this newsletter?

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Why the FTX collapse puts pressure on Congress

Washington policymakers are under growing pressure to write new rules for the cryptocurrency industry and crack down on fraud after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.

  • The federal government’s failure to find common ground on cryptocurrency regulation blew up in its face last week with the downfall of one of the industry’s most prominent and politically connected firms.  

  • As regulators pick up the pieces of what happened, lawmakers are going back to the drawing board to find a path forward — and point fingers.

“We expect lawmaker outrage, especially on the Democratic side, to pick up this week as Congress starts its lame-duck session,” wrote Ian Katz, director at research firm Capital Alpha Partners, in a Monday analysis.

The background: FTX, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, filed for bankruptcy on Friday after its affiliated trading firm Alameda Research blew through billions of dollars in user deposits on risky bets.

  • While FTX was based in the Bahamas, untold thousands of Americans were able to buy, sell and trade crypto using the platform by using private internet connections. 

  • Once worth roughly $32 billion, FTX’s value has been wiped out and its customers face a long, potentially fruitless road to getting their money back.

Sylvan and Karl break it down here.

NO TIME TO LOSE 

Lawmakers face funding crunch before expected GOP takeover of House

Lawmakers are facing a serious time crunch to hash out government funding for fiscal 2023 as they return to the Capitol with Republicans poised to take a narrow House majority.

Congress has until Dec. 16 to agree on new funding levels to avert a government shutdown. And while they can punt the deadline if negotiations require more time, lawmakers on both sides have been adamant that Congress finish its work before January, when a new Congress will be sworn in.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that he’s already begun telling colleagues to prepare for “heavy work” and “long hours” ahead of lawmakers’ return this week. “We’re going to try to have as productive a lame-duck session as possible,” he said.

  • Lawmakers are staring down a critical monthlong stretch until government funding is scheduled to lapse. 

  • However, none of the annual appropriations bills have made it through both chambers. 

  • At the same time, there has been a growing push among some House and Senate conservatives to delay new government spending until the new Congress is sworn in.

And that’s not all: Lawmakers also need to make time for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023, a vote on legislation aimed at protecting same-sex marriage and a cannabis banking bill leaders on both sides have been working to pass in the coming weeks, among other items.

Aris has the details here.

FOR SALE OR FORSAKEN?

What a housing market correction could mean

The U.S. housing market could be heading toward a correction after more than two years of massive price growth that has more recently been offset by the Federal Reserve’s attempt to curb inflation by raising interest rates.

The central bank’s effort has led to a sharp rise in mortgage rates, a decline in the number of homes under contract and a record monthly price growth slowdown in September of 2.6 percent.

  • A correction would allow buyers to spend more time on the market and possibly have less competition for homes. 

  • But experts say the recent price drops may not be enough to offset high mortgage rates combined with historic price increases during the pandemic.

The Hill’s Adam Barnes has more here.

DONOR ANGER

Billionaire Ken Griffin hopes ‘three-time’ loser Trump steps aside

Billionaire Ken Griffin, the founder of the global investment firm Citadel, said former President Trump is a “three-time loser” who should step aside in the 2024 presidential election.

Griffin, a prominent donor to Republican candidates, said on Tuesday at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Singapore that Trump should stay out of the Republican primary for president and make way for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), whom Griffin has backed financially.

“I’d like to think that the Republican Party is ready to move on from somebody who has been for this party a three-time loser,” he said.

The Hill’s Jared Gans has more here.

Good to Know

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told House lawmakers on Tuesday that his agency is focused on strengthening its public-private partnerships and its collaboration with foreign partners as a way to counter rising cyber threats from nation-state threat actors and cyber criminals.

Mayorkas, who testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, said the relationships that the agency has built with the private sector and its international partners are “increasingly vital” as hostile nations expand their cyber capabilities and increasingly seek to target U.S. critical infrastructure.

Other items we’re keeping an eye on:

  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos urged Americans to wait on making big-ticket purchases ahead of the holiday shopping season amid growing concerns of a possible economic recession.  

  • A coalition of small businesses is urging congressional leaders to prioritize an antitrust bill targeting tech giants during the lame-duck session.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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