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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1062, SEC Regulatory Accountability Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, here we go again, another day in the House where we're not focused on jobs, where we're not focused on healing our ailing economy, where we're not focused on the needs of the American people.

Yesterday, for the 37th time in 2 1/2 years, this House passed a bill overturning the Affordable Care Act. For the 37th time, my Republican friends decided to take up time on this House floor supporting a meaningless, partisan bill to overturn a law that will dramatically improve the health care of millions of Americans and is already helping to lower our deficit. Perhaps one day they will wake up from their Tea Party fever-dream and move on to more important priorities.

Not only have they wasted time debating a bill that won't be considered in the Senate, let alone signed into law, they are willfully ignoring the budget process that they were so stridently defending just a few months ago. It's been 55 days since the Senate passed its budget resolution, yet the Republicans refuse to go to conference to finish their work. This is the same Republican Party that passed a bill that says Members of Congress cannot be paid if we don't produce a budget. Let me repeat: no budget, no pay. Yet the Republicans refuse to finish the budget. All this flip-flopping is giving me whiplash, Mr. Speaker.

And today, we are presented with a bill, along with a whopping three amendments made in order. So much for an open process. Whatever happened to open rules?

So let's take a look at today's bill. It is a bill that would require the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC, to conduct even more extensive cost-benefit analyses than it already does when proposing any rule or when issuing interpretive guidance. Who could be against cost-benefit analysis? That seems like a commonsense idea, one that has merit and should be considered by agencies.

Well, Mr. Speaker, here is where the devil is really in the details. The SEC already does cost-benefit analyses on these rulings and regulations. It is already happening. So what's the real purpose of this bill? Is there a problem with the way the SEC is handling these cost-benefit analyses?

Mr. Speaker, this bill is really about putting more burdens on the SEC as they are attempting to fulfill their mandates under Dodd-Frank and do their job to protect investors. This bill places additional burdens on the SEC to meet these new requirements--and I'd like to point out--without providing any additional budget resources.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that this bill will cost the SEC $23 million over 5 years and will require the hiring of 20 additional staff. This is while sequestration is causing the Federal Government to shrink and agencies to furlough staff. In fact, right now sequestration is actually preventing the SEC from hiring any more additional staff, the same additional staff that would be needed to implement this bill if it were ever to become law.

I can only presume that the authors of this bill are attempting to bog the SEC down with additional, unnecessary, and redundant mandates in order to prevent the SEC from doing its job of protecting investors. This bill actually steers the SEC's work toward minimizing costs to big businesses and investment banks. That's what this does. How is that protecting the individual investor?

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Republican leadership wants to undermine the efforts of this agency to protect the individual investor. We're coming out of a historic recession, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

A big reason for the recession was the recklessness of investment banks and financial institutions. Millions of Americans lost money they had put into the stock market and entrusted to banks and financial institutions because of these institutions' reckless actions. We're talking about college savings, retirement accounts, and other nest eggs. Yet the Republican leadership would rather take the side of these reckless financial institutions that brought financial and economic ruin to our Nation, our communities, and our families than stand up and fight for the individual investor--the little guy. They'd rather fight for Wall Street than stand up for Main Street.

Mr. Speaker, that's not the right thing to do. We should pass a budget instead; we should pass the Van Hollen sequestration replacement bill; we should pass a jobs bill; but we should not be wasting our time on a bill that will punish individual investors in order to protect big banks.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the rule, and I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the underlying bill. I urge my Republican friends to, some time soon, take up some legislation that's going to help put America back to work and get our economy back on the right track.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time


Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I'm a little bit confused. The gentleman from Texas says he wants a smaller government, yet the bill that he's proposing here that we discuss on the floor actually will cost the American taxpayers more.

CBO says we need an additional $23 million for this additional bureaucracy that the gentleman has embraced. We're going to need to hire 20 new employees, according to CBO, in order to meet these new requirements.

So if you want a smaller government, here we are expanding government. But they're expanding government in a way that will hurt the little guy and protect Wall Street, which is to be expected.

Just one thing I want to say to make clear to my colleagues, in case anybody's a little bit confused here as well on the issue of the process. The way the process is supposed to work, when it comes to the budget, we pass a budget in the House, the Senate passes a budget in the Senate, then you go to conference and you work out the differences. And guess what? In a conference, you don't get everything you want, and we don't get everything we want, especially when there's a divided government, the way it is right now. Compromise is something that has to take place.

And so I would just take issue with the gentleman when he says that Republicans are leaders. Republicans aren't leaders. Republicans are obstructionists. You're holding everything up.

We're doing meaningless, sound-bite, press-release legislation day in and day out, not helping put one more American back to work, not alleviating any of the difficulties that the middle class is dealing with right now.

My friends are obstructing everything. They're holding things up. They're delaying the economic recovery. It is unconscionable that we are on the floor doing things that are going nowhere and that are helping no one.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from California (Ms. Waters), the ranking member of the Committee on Financial Services.


Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, talk about bizarre, the notion that a bill comes to the floor, that CBO, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, says is going to cost $20 million, there will be a need for additional employees, and there's nothing in this bill that will cover those costs, and on top of that my friends who, by the way, embraced sequestration, that's your plan, I would say to my colleague from Texas. That's not the President's plan. It was the Members of this House led by the majority here that voted for it.

To everybody who doesn't like it over there, guess what? You're in charge. Fix it. Bring something to the floor and fix it. Mr. Van Hollen has an alternative. You won't even let us bring it to the floor. So don't complain about something that you supported and you voted for and now you don't want to fix.

Just one other thing. I want to make it clear to my colleagues that this isn't about protecting small businesses. This is about protecting Wall Street, big banks, and big financial institutions. I get it, you know. That's nothing new coming from the other side of the aisle. But that's what this is about.

At this point, Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York, the distinguished ranking member of the Rules Committee, Ms. Slaughter.


Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, let me just say that I think what's going on here is basically that my Republican friends are trying to expand the bureaucracy and potentially charge the American taxpayers $23 million. But they're not going to provide the money, and so they're just going to bog down an agency that is designed to protect investors and consumers. I think that's the game here. This is about protecting big banks and Wall Street and big financial institutions. It's the same-old, same-old. This is nothing new for those who have been following the agenda of the House Republicans.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to urge that we defeat the previous question. And if we defeat the previous question, I will offer an amendment to the rule to bring up H. Res. 174, Representative Chris Van Hollen's resolution, telling the Speaker to appoint conferees to negotiate a compromise budget agreement with the Senate.

It has been 55 days since the Senate passed a budget. My Republican friends made a big deal about the fact that we shouldn't be paid unless we pass a budget. The House has passed a budget, the Senate has passed a budget, but my Republican friends don't want to go to conference because they don't believe in compromise.

So to discuss the importance of starting the budget negotiations with the Senate, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Van Hollen), the ranking member of the Budget Committee.


Mr. McGOVERN. I yield myself the balance of my time.

Again, I think what we have just witnessed kind of says it all. My Republican friends really do not have any intention of going to conference. They do not want to compromise. I think they were hoping maybe the Senate wouldn't come up with a budget and that they could have a talking point or a press release, but the Senate did come up with a budget. We have a budget here in the House that I strongly disagree with because I think it ruins our economy, but nonetheless, that's what the majority in this House voted for. We ought to go to conference, and we ought to be able to figure this out.

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of my amendment to the rule, which would defeat the previous question, in the Record, along with extraneous material, immediately prior to the vote on the previous question.


Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, let me just say in closing: another day and another meaningless piece of legislation that is going nowhere. It is a piece of legislation, quite frankly, that is geared toward helping big banks and big financial institutions at the expense of investors and small businesses. This is a bill that, again, I think, may make a nice press release for people who want to do big fundraisers, but at the end of the day, we are not doing anything to help the American people. We still have sequestration in place, there are people being furloughed, there are businesses that are losing contracts, there are people in the public and private sectors who are being laid off as a result of this.

By the way, sequestration is what my Republican friends embraced and voted for. So, when anyone comes to the floor here and says, Oh, we don't really like it, I would remind them that, as much as I hate to admit this, the Republicans are in charge of the House. They can bring a remedy to the floor any time they want to. Mr. Van Hollen has offered on many, many occasions an alternative to get us out of sequestration, but each time he offers it the Republican majority says ``no.'' You don't even have the right to bring it to the floor. You can't even debate it on the floor. That's the answer that we're getting, and it is totally unacceptable.

I would urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question so we can get Mr. Van Hollen's resolution made in order so that we can go to conference and do something meaningful, and I would also urge a rejection of this bill.

I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I think the American people are getting sick and tired of the majority in this House essentially rooting for this economy's demise so they can gain some political advantage. I think people are getting tired of it. They are hoping that we can come together in the spirit of compromise and get some things done--help put people back to work, help the average working family, help the middle class, help lift those in poverty out of poverty. They're hoping that we're going to do something serious and meaningful so that it will make a difference in their lives. We're not doing that, and it's a grave disappointment, I think, to people all over this country--to Democrats, Republicans, Independents alike.

So, again, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' and defeat the previous question. I urge a ``no'' vote on the rule and on the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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