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Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. MALONEY. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

My amendment concerns title VI of the bill and the enhanced cost-benefit analysis that it requires. The amendment very simply requires that title VI of the underlying bill needs to basically get in line behind all the critical and previously assigned responsibilities Congress has given to the SEC to keep consumers, investors, and our financial system safe.

My amendment would require the Chair of the SEC to certify that the Commission can perform its core mission of protecting investors and do the job it was created to do--safely maintain efficient markets and promote access to capital--before it diverts any of its resources to carry out the new requirements of title VI in this bill.

The financial reforms we enacted 2 years ago gave the SEC critical new tools to oversee a multitrillion-dollar market and to help ensure that we do not get ourselves into another financial crisis. And the reforms we previously enacted require the SEC to conduct extensive rulemakings and to complete a number of critical reports.

Unfortunately, this Congress has chosen to underfund the SEC and hamper its ability to provide the required oversight of the financial industry. The SEC is now facing a $195 million shortfall this year alone. They are also operating on a budget that is a 12 percent cut from what the President requested.

The SEC needs every dollar it now gets just to carry out its core mission: to protect investors, to implement Dodd-Frank, and to provide enforcement. I do not believe that it would be responsible on the part of this Congress to require that already strained resources be diverted from the SEC's core mission in order to comply with the new burdens of this title.

The Congressional Budget Office has made it quite clear that additional resources would have to be used to carry out the provisions of this title. Imposing these new and severe burdens on the SEC's cost-benefit analysis process would ensure that the SEC would be hard-pressed to carry out its fundamental regulatory functions. The SEC would have difficulty protecting investors even when it has identified harmful practices.

The SEC is already required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and recent court cases prove that, if the process has been insufficient, the SEC must start over.

Last year, for example, the SEC proposed a rule on proxy access to give shareholders more of a say into the activities of companies. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia very directly stated that their cost-benefit analysis had been inadequate. That represents a very real and a very effective existing check on the SEC's authority. But title VI of this bill will effectively shut down the SEC's rulemaking process altogether by requiring significant resources be directed to burdensome new requirements.

So I believe that before we hobble an agency that keeps consumers, investors, and our financial sector safe, it would be wise to require that the Chair of the SEC must certify that it will still be able to carry out its core mission before this provision can go into effect--also, because we already have a cost-benefit analysis.

In the wake of all the cost, the pain, and the dislocation of the Great Recession, we should not now cripple the SEC's ability to do its real job, that of protecting investors and our financial markets.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.


Mrs. MALONEY. In response to my friend on the other side of the aisle, regulations did not cause the Great Recession; it did not cause the loss of jobs. What caused the loss of jobs was the lack of regulation and the lack of enforcement, and certainly large swaths of the economy that were not regulated at all that brought on the Great Recession.

It was the regulations that Dodd-Frank has put in place, and restoring the strength to the SEC to protect investors and to protect our economy, and putting hurdles and additional expenses in front of the SEC when they don't even have the money to enforce the new laws and things they have to do. They're very overburdened. So this is a reasonable amendment, and I urge its passage.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mrs. MALONEY. Thank you, Madam Chair.

This is one of two amendments that Mrs. Lummis has submitted. She has indicated that she will not be offering her other amendment, and we are very pleased as we had some serious concerns about that amendment.

This amendment I am supporting, though, would require Federal agencies to gather valuable data, and it would require the Administrative Conference of the United States to issue a report based on that data. This report would help taxpayers and Congress determine where taxpayer funds flow under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

This amendment has merit. We should have mechanisms in place to track where taxpayer money goes, and the reports this amendment requires will help Congress conduct more thorough oversight over Federal agencies.

There are still some concerns that some have raised about the extent to which the data will be made public. This data could include names of Social Security claimants and veterans who bring claims under EAJA, and this may have a chilling effect on those claimants.

We are willing to work with Mrs. Lummis to address these concerns. Mrs. Lummis, herself, has raised more specific concerns with how EAJA has been used and urges Congress to amend the act. The committee held a hearing and marked up her bill. The reported bill contained several needed improvements to address many of our concerns on this side of the aisle. We thank her for working with us on these changes. The bill still needs some more work, and we will continue to work with her to address all of our concerns. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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