Legislation

Waters presses rules committee to review appropriations bill

Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged the House Committee on Rules to review certain provisions of the 2015 appropriations bill that she said would hurt funding for financial regulators.

Waters said one provision “places improper funding restrictions” on the Office of Financial Research (OFR), which was created to examine systemic risk in the U.S. economy and guide the Financial Stability Oversight Council, Under the appropriations bill, the OFR would be subject to the appropriations process beginning next year.

Last month, lawmakers approved the $21.3 billion 2015 fiscal year financial services appropriations bill, which provides funding for the U.S. Treasury, judiciary system, Small Business Administration, SEC and other agencies.

Waters also voiced concern that the appropriations bill contains provisions that could undermine the independence of the CFPB and deny the SEC access to the Reserve Fund, which was set up to facilitate planning and budgeting and ensure resources are available in the event of a financial crisis.

Additionally, Waters said parts of the appropriations bill would “hamstring” the SEC from fulfilling its mandate by preventing it from considering whether political contributions made by corporations are “material” to investors.

“In order to uphold the integrity of the appropriations process, I ask that the Committee on Rules submit to the requests contained within this letter,” Waters said. “The funding process for our financial regulatory agencies should not be used as a way to side-step the proper role of authorizing Committees in Congress.”

The 2015 financial services appropriations bill allocates $566 million less in funding, compared to this fiscal year, and comes in $2.3 billion below President Obama’s requested funding.

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