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Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday proposed loosening a rule that had banned banks from certain short-term trading activities.

Why it matters: This would further weaken the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that was designed to prevent another financial crisis, just days after Congress made its own cuts.

The Fed's move is aimed at The Volcker Rule, named for former Fed chair Paul Volcker, which was designed to stop banks from making speculative investments.

  • The proposed changes would create three categories on banks, with restrictions remaining tightest on those with $10 billion or more in trading assets and liabilities.
  • Fed chair Jay Powell said: "The proposal will address some of the uncertainty and complexity that now make it difficult for firms to know how best to comply, and for supervisors to know that they are in compliance. Our goal is to replace overly complex and inefficient requirements with a more streamlined set of requirements.”
  • Marcus Stanley, policy director at the left-leaning Americans for Financial Reform, said: “These proposals could turn the Volcker Rule into a dead letter, a regulation that would not meaningfully restrict trading activities at the banks whose problems could drag down the entire financial system – again.”
  • America is nearing the 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.