Top regulators warn on expanding president's powers

WASHINGTON Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:35pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top financial regulators have told two senators a bill they are sponsoring would give the president undue influence on supervisory authorities and hurt the agencies' ability to do their job.

Six regulators, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, weighed in against the "Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012."

They were particularly concerned with a provision that would give any president the right to require independent regulatory agencies to submit their rulemakings to the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

"This would give any president unprecedented authority to influence the policy and rulemaking functions of independent regulatory agencies and would constitute a fundamental change in the role of independent regulatory agencies," the financial regulatory officials said in an October 26 letter to the two senators sponsoring the bill, Republican Susan Collins and independent Joseph Lieberman.

"Beyond injecting an Administration's influence directly into our rulemaking, the bill would also interfere with our ability to promulgate rules critical to our missions in a timely manner," said the letter, obtained by Reuters.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa)

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Comments (11)
Progression wrote:
This is BS. Regulators should not be independent and left to do what they want. The Fed doesn’t operate in our interests, they operate under their own. These are unelected positions that directly influence everyone in the US, and the world. What are they hiding? That they work for the world bank? That their monetary policy is designed to crush the poor and creater an even higher wealth disparity?

Oct 28, 2012 12:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bemore2day wrote:
Let’s see…

IF this bill was to pass, and IF Romney was elected president, Romney would have the ability and influence to gut regulations to the GOP’s great pleasure!

The GOP would herald it as an opportunity to rein in “big government.”

IF Obama is reelected and this bill was in place, the GOP would be crying Obama conspiracy, Obama oversteps presidential powers, communist takeover of regulations by president.

The bill is put forth by republican Susan Collins and independent Joseph Lieberman, but under an Obama presidency, it somehow would be blamed on Obama.

Oct 28, 2012 2:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:
bemore2day…helps if you have ALL the facts.

Last month before leaving for recess, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bipartisan Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012 (S. 3468). If enacted, this bill would, among other things, extend to independent agencies (i.e. the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), etc.) the same regulatory analysis requirements currently applicable to the executive agencies, including, but not limited to:

The requirement to identify the problem that the agency intends to address by a new rule and assess the significance of that problem;
Examine whether any existing rule (or other law) has created or contributed to the problem that a new rule is intended to correct and whether the existing rule (or other law) should be modified to achieve the intended goals of the new rule more effectively;
Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including providing economic incentives;
Design its rules in the most cost-effective manner to achieve the regulatory objective and in doing so consider incentives for innovation, consistency, predictability, the costs of enforcement and compliance, flexibility, distributive impacts, and equity;
Base its rulemaking decisions on the best reasonably obtainable scientific, technical, economic, and other information concerning the need for, and consequences of, the intended rule;
Tailor rules to impose the least burden on society, including individuals, businesses of differing sizes, and other entities (including small communities and governmental entities), consistent with achieving the regulatory objectives, and taking into account, among other factors, and to the extent practicable, the cost of cumulative rules; and
Periodically review its existing significant rules to determine whether any such rules should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.
In addition to the foregoing regulatory analysis requirements, this bill would require independent agencies to submit significant proposed and final rules (i.e. rules with an economic impact of more than $100 million) and supporting analysis to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). OIRA would then be required to review the proposed rule and determine whether or not the submitting agency complied with the new requirements. If OIRA determines that the independent agency failed to comply with the new regulatory analysis requirements, then that agency would be required to provide or include along with the proposed and final significant rule:

A determination that the rule complies with the requirements and an explanation of that determination;
If applicable, an explanation why the independent regulatory agency did not comply with one or more of the requirements based on the statutory provision authorizing the rule; and
A clear statement of the issues on which the agency agrees or disagrees with the Administrator’s assessment of the rule.
Additionally, while independent agencies compliance or noncompliance with the referenced regulatory requirements would not be subject to judicial review, any decisions, analysis, explanations, or assessments made by OIRA would be included in the official record of the agency action.

After being introduced, S. 3468 was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. NSBA is closely monitoring this legislation and will keep members apprised of any developments.

Oct 28, 2012 3:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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