February 28, 2011 / 9:23 PM / 8 years ago

House panel to review Dodd-Frank cost

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. financial regulators will be called to testify about the cost of implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street law and what costs may get passed along to consumers, a key House Republican said on Monday.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, told the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit that he has asked regulators for details on what it will cost to hire new workers and expand their agencies.

The hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 30.

Neugebauer said one of his top priorities is to ensure that regulators are not “overreaching” and moving too quickly with their new authorities under Dodd-Frank.

The Republican from Texas is also concerned about the cost of paying for the new reforms, and wants to dig deeper to see exactly how regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would use the money.

The SEC and CFTC have said they need more money to implement the Dodd-Frank reforms, and President Obama recently requested big funding boosts for fiscal 2012.

Republicans have resisted these requests, both out of concern for how Dodd-Frank is being carried out and more broadly because of concerns over the size of the U.S. deficit.

“I think we are to the point in this country now where you will have to do a better job with less money,” Neugebauer said. “The solutions of making these agencies bigger, and more funding, really hasn’t worked all that well.”

In the broader battle over spending, Congress is trying to avert a government shutdown when a temporary spending measure expires on Friday. A deal appeared to be taking shape on Monday.

The government has been operating at 2010 spending levels since lawmakers were unable to agree last year on a budget for fiscal 2011 that began October 1.

Neugebauer also said he is worried about whether regulators are adequately performing a cost-benefit analysis on every rule associated with Dodd-Frank, a process required under federal rule-making procedures.

He expects that SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro and CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler will likely be called back to testify about the issue, especially after he said Gensler gave him “vague” responses about cost-benefit analyses at a hearing earlier this month on derivatives rules.

Neugebauer said another of his big priorities this year will be to rein in the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an entity created under Dodd-Frank.

Neugebauer previously introduced a bill to move the bureau from the Federal Reserve into the Treasury Department. This would make it more accountable to Congress by subjecting it to the appropriations process.

He hopes to have the financial institutions subcommittee begin formally debating the bill sometime in the next few months.

“We are working on some refining language,” he said. “It’s in the hopper right now.”

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Tim Dobbyn

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