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Public Statements

Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HIMES. Mr. Speaker, while I supported today's continuing resolution in an effort to ensure that essential governmental operations are funded beyond March 27, there remain many questions about the application of the sequester.

One area that few Members of Congress or the administration are discussing is whether sequestration should apply to certain entities that Congress clearly intended to be legally independent of the federal government. Congress recognized the crucial importance of maintaining the objectivity of each of these entities and insulated them from the federal appropriations process in order to maintain their independence.

For example, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (``FASB''), the entity that establishes generally accepted accounting principles is a private entity that is explicitly not part of the Congressional appropriations process under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Indeed, that Act specifically states that FASB revenues are not to be considered ``public monies.''

Unfortunately, the Office of Management and Budget's sequestration order would require the private fee income on which FASB relies for its operations to be subject to the sequester. This is despite Congress' explicit intent in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to keep FASB independent.

More fundamentally, sequestration of these monies makes no sense. FASB's funding does not come from the federal government and is instead collected from accounting support fees allocated among public issuers. As a result, sequestration of FASB funding has no effect on reducing the federal deficit. It does, however, undermine FASB's independence and important role in setting accounting standards for U.S. public issuers.

Other entities similar to FASB are also being sequestered despite Congress' clear intent to keep them separate from the federal budget process. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation are all entities subject to the sequester notwithstanding the fact that they collect fee income independent of the federal budget process.

Subjecting these entities to sequestration would seriously undermine the intent of Congress to keep them apart from the federal budget process as independent organizations. As we consider the effect of sequestration in the coming days and weeks, I urge my colleagues to support a legislative remedy that would ensure that entities like FASB are not subject to sequestration.

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