Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Monday, February 7, 2011

The House Financial Services Committee under Republican Leadership

The House Financial Services Committee, under the leadership of Representative Bachus, has announced its agenda:

During the 112th Congress, the Committee will be at the forefront of an effort to end the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Committee Republicans were the first to introduce a plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in July 2009. Additionally, Republicans have introduced 7 bills to protect taxpayers by ending the bailout of Fannie and Freddie. ...

Another priority of Chairman Spencer Bachus is bringing a real end to ‘too big to fail.’ The Dodd-Frank Act wrote ‘too big to fail’ into law, placing taxpayers at risk for future bailouts. The Committee will examine the taxpayer exposure of the bailout authority created under this law.

The House Financial Services Committee has jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to the economy, the banking system, housing, insurance, and securities and exchanges. Additionally, the Committee also has jurisdiction over monetary policy, international finance, international monetary organizations, and efforts to combat terrorist financing.

The Committee oversees the Nation’s economy through its oversight of the Federal Reserve Board and individual reserve banks, the Treasury, the production and distribution of currency, and the Nation’s capital markets.
Agencies under oversight by the Committee include: the Federal Reserve, Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Export-Import Bank.

The Committee's website also headlines a message on "Collateral Damage: The Real Impact Of The Democrats’ Bailout Bill":

In July 2010, the Democrats rushed through a massive 2300 page bill that failed to address the real causes of the financial crisis. For example, a key reform missing in the Act was an exit strategy from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Instead, the Democrats used the crisis to pursue their long-term goals of a government managed economy.

In an attempt to meet an arbitrary deadline tied to an upcoming G-20 meeting, the Democrats engaged in a headlong rush to complete a conference committee established to reconcile competing House and Senate regulatory reform bills in a mere two weeks.  Even before the bill was signed into law, the Democrats acknowledged there would need to be a “technical corrections” package to address drafting errors and unintended consequences.
Within days of the bill becoming law, their predictions were borne out, as the consequences of a poorly drafted bill began to become evident. The credit rating agency liability provisions nearly shut down the bond market. This forced the Securities and Exchange Commission to step in and issue temporary guidance.

Additionally, provisions that were added to the bill without public discussion about came to light. For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission was given broad exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. This led to a correction bill removing this exemption.
The 2300 page bill mandated approximately 240 rulemakings, and the Committee will have an enormous task in overseeing the implementation of the new law to make sure that the same regulators who helped cause the crisis and have been given enormous authority to write the new rules don't make a hash of things this time around.

It goes on to list a number of examples of what it describes as "the unintended consequences thus far from passing the Dodd-Frank Act."

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