Top Financial Regulators Oppose Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act

Bernanke, Schapiro, Others Decry Unprecedented New Powers Bill Would Give The President Over Independent Agencies

Nov 1, 2012

Contact: Gisele McAuliffe, gmcauliffe@citizen.org (202) 285-3340
Brian Gumm, bgumm@ombwatch.org (202) 683-4812

WASHINGTON—Objections by six high-profile U.S. financial regulators to legislation that would give future presidents unprecedented new powers over independent agencies highlight the dangers of the measure, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards said today.

The regulators’ Oct. 26 letter warned that the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act (S. 3468) would require independent agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to cede a substantial amount of control to the White House.

The letter was signed by Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Thomas Curry, comptroller of the currency; Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Mary L. Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Martin Gruenberg, acting chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Debbie Matz, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration. The six officials warned the bill “would constitute a fundamental change in the role of independent regulatory agencies.” The letter was sent to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and ranking member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). The bill is likely to be marked up by the committee on Nov. 15.

The officials noted that “independent regulatory agencies were established by Congress to exercise policymaking functions – and in particular, rulemaking functions – independent of the control of any Administration.” They criticized S. 3468 for interfering “with our ability to promulgate rules critical to our missions in a timely manner” and warned that the new bill “would likely result in unnecessary and unwarranted litigation in connection with our rules.”

The regulators are right,” said Virginia Robnett, Coordinator for the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards. “S. 3468 could create major, unpredictable changes and lead to significant delays in the work of independent agencies. It would introduce major new bureaucratic roadblocks to any agency action, no matter how necessary or important. In addition to threatening implementation of essential Wall Street reforms, the bill also imperils consumer and nuclear safety laws and protections. Lawmakers should kill this unwise and dangerous bill.”

To view a copy the letter sent to Sens. Lieberman and Collins, visit: http://sensiblesafeguards.org/assets/documents/financialleaders-re-s3468.pdf. For more information about S. 3468, visit: http://sensiblesafeguards.org/factsheets/the-independent-agency-regulatory-analysis-act/. Click here to read other letters from groups opposing S. 3468.

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The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is an alliance of consumer, small business, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, as well as concerned individuals, joined in the belief that our country’s system of regulatory safeguards provides a stable framework that secures our quality of life and paves the way for a sound economy that benefits us all. For more information about the coalition, go to www.sensiblesafeguards.org.