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Financial Services Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee


, Jul 29 -

Financial Services Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services today approved its annual legislation to fund the various programs and agencies under its jurisdiction for the next fiscal year. Some of these funding accounts include the Treasury Department, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, and the District of Columbia. The bill contains $24.5 billion in total spending, which is an increase of $314 million over last year’s funding levels.
 
Republicans on the Subcommittee, including House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis, indicated their extreme concern with the level of spending in the bill, especially as the legislation primarily funds general government operations costs, not programs or grants that directly affect local communities.  
 
“This Financial Services funding bill is the very last piece of legislation to be considered in an Appropriations Subcommittee this year… and, like the bills that came before, it simply spends too much money. In fact, when all funding is combined, programs in this bill have received a 24% increase over the last three years of Democrat control,” Lewis said. “This continued tidal wave of irresponsible and unsustainable spending will drive our country deeper into financial turmoil, and will ultimately leave us in an even worse economic state than we are right now.”
 
 In addition to the cost, Lewis and Subcommittee Ranking Member Jo Ann Emerson also stated concerns regarding controversial policies in the Financial Services bill – including those that relate to abortions, education opportunities for low-income students, needle exchanges, and medical marijuana in the District of Columbia, as well as the Treasury Department’s growing responsibilities in implementing the Democrats’ health care and financial regulatory reform legislation.
 
To address these concerns, Republicans offered several amendments at the Subcommittee mark up, including:
 
1.)    Ranking Member Lewis (R-CA) offered an amendment to cut the total spending in the bill by $790 million, or 3%. If approved, this amendment would have demonstrated the willingness of the Subcommittee to begin to make necessary spending reductions – even through relatively small amounts – to put the nation on a more sustainable budget path.
 
The amendment was defeated by Subcommittee Democrats on a vote of 5-9.
 
Subcommittee Chairman Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Israel (D-NY), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), and Chairman Obey (D-WI) all voted to oppose the amendment.
 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL), and Ranking Member Lewis (R-CA) all voted in favor of the amendment.
 
2.)    Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO) offered an amendment to cut $100 million from the bill through targeted spending reductions in programs that have received large and unnecessary increases in the last several years, including the headquarters of the Department of Treasury, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Management and Budget at the White House (OMB), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The funding would be returned to the Treasury to pay down the deficit.
 
The amendment was defeated by Subcommittee Democrats on a vote of 5-9.
 
Subcommittee Chairman Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Israel (D-NY), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), and Chairman Obey (D-WI) all voted to oppose the amendment.
 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL), and Ranking Member Lewis (R-CA) all voted in favor of the amendment.
 
3.)    Rep. Culberson (R-MO) offered an amendment to insert language clarifying the eligibility criteria for investors who have suffered under fraudulent investment schemes.
 
The amendment was accepted by the Subcommittee on a voice vote.
 
4.)    Rep. Kirk (R-IL) offered an amendment to increase funding for the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) by $5 million – equal to the President’s request – offset by a reduction in GSA funding. The SIGTARP is charged with reviewing and making recommendations to improve Treasury’s TARP activities, such as selling warrants and trying to stem foreclosures.  In addition, they are charged with conducting civil and criminal investigations into financial crimes involving TARP. The amendment would fill a funding hole in the SIGTARP, and would allow the office to maintain their current level of activity in fiscal year 2011 to help stop any waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars.
 
The amendment was accepted by the Subcommittee on a voice vote.
 
5.)    Rep. Kirk (R-IL) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for the IRS to implement a “Value Added Tax” (VAT).
 
The amendment was defeated by Subcommittee Democrats on a vote of 5-9.
 
Subcommittee Chairman Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Israel (D-NY), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), and Chairman Obey (D-WI) all voted to oppose the amendment.
 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL), and Ranking Member Lewis (R-CA) all voted in favor of the amendment.
 
6.)    Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL) offered an amendment to increase funding for the D.C. School Vouchers program by $3.8 million, offset by a reduction to GSA funding. The amendment would also strike language in the underlying legislation that would prohibit new low-income students from receiving a scholarship, which would effectively eliminate the program.
 
The amendment was defeated by Subcommittee Democrats on a vote of 4-9.
 
Subcommittee Chairman Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Israel (D-NY), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), and Chairman Obey (D-WI) all voted to oppose the amendment.
 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Kirk (R-IL), and Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL),) all voted in favor of the amendment.
 
7.)    Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL) offered an amendment to change several provisions in the recently enacted Financial Regulatory Reform legislation. The modifications include changing the funding for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the Office of Financial Research from mandatory spending to discretionary; and prohibiting the Securities and Exchange Commission from spending funds out of a new Reserve Fund without the approval of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
 
The amendment was defeated by Subcommittee on a voice vote.
 
8.)    Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO) offered an amendment to require GAO to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. So far, the Administration’s implementation efforts have yielded near disastrous results, with many small businesses shutting down because of burdensome regulations and with U.S. manufacturers moving more of their production overseas.
 
The amendment was accepted by the Subcommittee on a voice vote.
 
9.)    Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO) offered an amendment to strike a provision in the bill that would extend the availability of “stimulus” funds for the GSA. These funds were set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, and therefore could be used for more effective purposes such as deficit reduction. The funding has not produced significant job growth, with just 2,848 jobs created so far at a cost of $4.2 billion (an astonishing $1.5 million per job) according to the Administration’s own estimates. However, GSA has attempted to retain the funds, resulting in what amounts to a multi-purpose “slush fund” for the agency.
 
The amendment was defeated by Subcommittee Democrats on a vote of 5-9.
 
Subcommittee Chairman Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Israel (D-NY), Rep. Ryan (D-OH), and Chairman Obey (D-WI) all voted to oppose the amendment.
 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Culberson (R-TX), Rep. Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL), and Ranking Member Lewis (R-CA) all voted in favor of the amendment.