WASHINGTON — The indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is an unwelcome wrinkle within the debate to resume flood insurance coverage, and will maintain up the work of the Senate Banking Committee in different areas, consultants mentioned.
Menendez, who was indicted on expenses that he took bribes from New Jersey businessmen, together with a former neighborhood financial institution government, stays the No. 3 Democratic lawmaker on the Senate Banking Committee. He has, per Senate Democratic guidelines, stepped down as chairman of the Overseas Relations Committee.
A number of Democratic senators have referred to as for him to resign from the Senate, together with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who mentioned that Menendez has “damaged the general public belief.”
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., additionally on the Senate Banking Committee, was the primary senator to name for the resignation, saying that Menendez “can’t proceed to wield affect over nationwide coverage, particularly given the intense and particular nature of the allegations.” Together with Brown and Fetterman, the Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee calling for Menendez to resign embody Jon Tester of Montana, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
A central a part of the Menendez indictment is his relationship with a former banker, Fred Daibes, who on the time he allegedly made presents to Menendez confronted federal financial institution fraud expenses that would have include a decade-long jail sentence. Daibes based and was previously CEO and chairman of the $414 million-asset Mariner’s Financial institution in Edgewater, New Jersey, which was purchased by close by Spencer Financial savings Financial institution in 2021 for an undisclosed money payout.
To take away Menendez from the Senate Banking Committee, he would seemingly have to resign from Congress totally. Senate committee assignments are fastened, and require unanimous consent to alter.
“Senator Menendez persevering with to remain within the Senate however being functionally crippled may complicate Chairman Brown’s means to maneuver laws and nominations by way of the committee,” mentioned Aaron Klein, a senior fellow in Financial Research on the Brookings Establishment.
One of many main issues with Menendez’s continued presence within the Senate is a pending flood insurance coverage program, whose funding runs out Sept. 30. The extension for that program is tied to the spending invoice, which appears more and more caught and more likely to result in a authorities shutdown subsequent week.
“The issue is the extension is tied to the spending invoice, which is caught,” mentioned Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at TD Cowen Washington Analysis Group, in a word. “Push now’s for separate laws, although there isn’t any clear path ahead for it.”
Menendez was meant to chair a subcommittee listening to Wednesday on “The State of Flood Insurance coverage in America” in his capability of chairman of the subcommittee on Securities, Insurance coverage, and Funding. That listening to, after the indictment was made public, was postponed indefinitely.
“Flood insurance coverage is an advanced difficulty politically and substantively,” Klein mentioned. “Geography of key members performs a serious function. New Jersey is a coastal state, lately impacted by [Superstorm] Sandy. Passing laws, whether or not reforming this system or holding it going as is, requires time, effort, and political talent. Having a key member impaired will damage the method.”
At the least on hashish banking, consultants do not anticipate Menendez’s authorized troubles to play a big function. Don Murphy, a longtime hashish lobbyist, mentioned that he expects Menendez to vote for the SAFER Banking Act, which is up for a markup within the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, by proxy. Menendez is a co-sponsor of the laws, however the invoice already has a lot of Democratic and Republican co-sponsors and help within the Senate, he mentioned.
Even when Menendez have been to step down, Murphy mentioned that it is unlikely that the New Jersey governor would appoint a alternative senator that disagrees with Menendez’s stance on marijuana legalization and banking.