Chairwoman Emerson Opening Statement on FY 2012 Financial Services Appropriations Bill Before Full Committee

Jun 23, 2011

"Welcome everyone to today’s Full Committee mark up of the fiscal year 2012 Financial Services and General Government bill.

"The bill before us today matches the Subcommittee’s discretionary allocation of $19.9 billion. This allocation is nine percent less than fiscal year 2011, 18 percent less than fiscal year 2010, and 22.5 percent less than the President’s request. This reduction resulted in some very tough decisions, but they are necessary to reduce the Federal government’s unsustainable level of spending.

"The funding priorities in the bill include the Small Business Administration’s business and disaster loan programs, drug task forces, public safety and education in the District of Columbia, and Treasury’s antiterrorism and financial intelligence activities.

"In order to pay for these priorities, while still significantly reducing overall spending, the bill reduces the operating expenses for: all non-security related Department of Treasury offices and bureaus; the Executive Office of the President; the Federal courts; and nearly every independent agency funded by this bill.

"The bill also eliminates funding for the new construction and major renovations of Federal buildings. Before new space is added to the Federal inventory, the Executive Branch should make better use of its existing space.

"Regarding the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the bill includes important oversight and transparency provisions. These include limiting mandatory spending for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to $200 million and requiring the Bureau’s funding to come from discretionary appropriations in future years. Other agencies charged with consumer protection like the FCC, the SEC, the CPSC, and the FTC are all funded by discretionary appropriations.

"Other Dodd-Frank related provisions include a limitation on the new Office of Financial Research which has the authority to tax financial institutions to fund its operations without any input from Congress. The bill also prohibits the SEC from spending funding from its newly created mandatory “Reserve Fund”. I am sure every agency wishes it had a mandatory reserve fund but this fund is unnecessary and lacks any meaningful Congressional oversight.  

"We have worked closely with the authorizing committee on these issues. In particular, I want to thank Randy Neugebauer for his leadership in spearheading the effort to make the CFPB accountable to the American taxpayers.

"In addition, the bill prohibits funding for specific activities that create uncertainty, and inhibit economic recovery and fiscal sustainability. These limitations prohibit funds for:

  • implementation of the individual mandate from the healthcare reform act,
  • operating an unverifiable consumer complaint database,
  • imposing unnecessary regulations on the Internet,
  • executing the outdated Presidential Election Campaign Fund,
  • hiring certain unconfirmed Czars, and 
  • requiring contractors to report campaign contributions in contract bids.

"The Subcommittee has worked hard to make these cuts to save taxpayer dollars. Under Chairman Rogers’ leadership, the Committee has been committed to reducing government spending. This bill is a testament to that goal.

"I want to thank Chairman Rogers and all the Members of the Committee for their input and assistance in getting us to this point in the process. I also want to express my appreciation to Jose Serrano. As Chairman of this Subcommittee for the four previous years, he was very fair and respectful of all Members’ views and did an outstanding job. Now as Ranking Member, his input has improved the bill and I look forward to working closely with him and all Members of the Committee as the bill moves forward."