Waters Pushes to Increase Consumer and Investor Protections
As the House of Representatives considers the harmful Republican financial services and general government funding proposal, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, offered three amendments designed to provide adequate resources to our financial regulators.
The amendments build off concerns raised by Waters last week, when she criticized Republicans for attempting to use an appropriations measure to make controversial legislative changes that would undermine consumer protection, weaken important Wall Street reforms and hurt regulators' ability to protect our economy. Today, she raised concerns about provisions within the legislation, H.R. 5016, that place improper funding restrictions on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), among others.
The three amendments offered by Waters included:
An amendment to restore the independent funding of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the GOP finding measure, the Bureau's independent funding stream would be eliminated, instead tied to the highly political Congressional appropriations process. Despite being directly relevant to the provisions within the bill, Republicans objected to the amendment, ruling it out of order on an appropriations measure.
On the House floor, Waters said: "This legislation would end the Bureau's independence by tying its funding to the highly political Congressional appropriations process. The result will be a weakened CFPB – one unable to properly advocate on behalf of our nation's consumers. And if enacted into law, we would be one step closer to the Republican goal of ending the CFPB altogether – and its work on behalf of our students, seniors, families and service members."
An amendment to fully fund the Securities and Exchange Commission, one of Wall Street's top cops, at the President's request of $1.7 billion, and at no cost to the taxpayer. The underlying bill undermines the SEC by cutting nearly $300 million or nearly 20 percent from the requested level. The Waters amendment will be voted on in the coming days.
Waters said, "The world's capital markets have grown at an ever accelerating rate, and likewise, so have the SEC's responsibilities. Today, the SEC oversees 11,000 investment advisers, 10,000 mutual funds, 4,450 broker-dealers, the securities exchanges, clearing agencies, credit rating agencies and other self-regulatory organizations. The SEC also reviews the disclosures of nearly 9,000 public companies. A fully funded SEC helps America's entrepreneurs raise funds to finance jobs and development. A fully funded SEC ensures that our markets operate efficiently. A fully funded SEC protects the hard-earned savings funding our nation's retirement and our children's education."
An amendment to provide the SEC with the authority to impose and collect reasonable user fees on federally registered investment advisers to increase the number and frequency of SEC examinations. This provision is consistent with legislation coauthored by Waters and Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), H.R. 1627, the Investment Adviser Examination Improvement Act. Last week, Waters called on House Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling to hold a hearing on this and other legislative proposals that would increase these reviews. Republicans also objected to this amendment, ruling it out of order on an appropriations measure.
Waters said: "Today, investment advisers may go more than decade before being visited by the SEC. It is absolutely essential that we improve the oversight of investment advisers – the people that manage the assets of millions of individual and institutional investors across the country. This is particularly true if we are underfunding the SEC by $300 million, as this underlying bill proposes."