House Republicans Vote Again to Block Full Funding for the SEC
Republican Members of the House Financial Services Committee today voted to reject an amendment which calls for fully meeting the President’s funding request for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Twenty-five Republicans voted against the amendment and seventeen Democrats voted in favor of it.
The amendment was introduced by Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee. In his remarks, Frank pointed out that the amendment would be budget neutral because the SEC’s funding is offset not by taxpayers, but through a small fee on securities transactions.
Republican Members spoke out against the amendment, claiming that recent financial scandals demonstrate that the SEC has done an inadequate job and thus doesn’t deserve the funding requested by the Obama administration. Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC) said that “according to you [Republican Members], the SEC wasn’t proficient and according to us [Democratic Members], they didn’t have the resources to be proficient… but you don’t make an agency more proficient by starving it.”
Today’s vote on SEC funding follows a year-long battle between House Republicans and Democrats regarding funding for both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, two of the most important agencies charged with carrying out the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Some Republican Members have advocated for full repeal of the reform legislation but that is likely impossible given Democratic control of the Senate and a Democratic President in the White House. Instead of working for outright repeal, Republicans have fought to slash funding to the agencies that will administer it and to delay the implementation of key provisions. They also refused to consider any nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – forcing President Obama to make a recess appointment.
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