Chairwoman Emerson Opening Statement on FY 2013 Financial Services Appropriations Bill at Full Committee Mark Up

Jun 20, 2012

The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee has jurisdiction over a diverse group of agencies and activities including financial regulators, tax collections, the White House, the Federal courts, DC, GSA and the Small Business Administration.

The bill we are considering today provides $21.15 billion which is $376 million or 1.7% less than fiscal year 2012.  Compared to fiscal year 2010, the allocation is a reduction of 12.6% or $3 billion.  The bill includes sufficient funds for agencies to complete their work while forcing them to continue to find ways to become more efficient.

The funding priorities in the bill include the drug task forces, public safety and education in the District of Columbia, and Treasury’s antiterrorism and financial intelligence activities.

In addition, in order to assist small businesses maintain their competitiveness in a stagnant economy, the bill includes $1.2 billion for the Small Business Administration, which is a $240 million increase over fiscal year 2012, and guarantees $25 billion in 7(a) and 504 business loans, which is $1.5 billion more than was proposed by the Administration.

In order to pay for these priorities, while still reducing overall spending, the bill reduces the operating expenses for several programs including: the Salaries and Expenses accounts in the Executive Office of the President; the Federal courts – specifically, their circuit judicial conferences; the Election Assistance Commission; the Federal Trade Commission; the Federal Communications Commission; and several other agencies.

Once again this year, the bill includes language to make the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau subject to the appropriations process.  It is ironic that the agency charged with increasing transparency into financial institutions is so resistant to working with this Committee. 

Regarding GSA, all of you know about the conference in Las Vegas where they used taxpayer funds provided for the operations and maintenance of Federal buildings for catered meals and entertainment.  This bill increases transparency into GSA’s operations by breaking out their administrative funds into a separate account so they can’t take the rent that agencies pay and use it irresponsibly.  While the actions at the Western Regions Conference are not reflective of the diligent, hard work of many GSA employees, the scandal has exposed a lack of transparency and vulnerability for abuse in the Federal Buildings Fund.  

The Administration will say that this bill does not meet the resource needs of the agencies in this bill.  However, the Administration’s request for this bill is out of touch with our nation’s financial situation.  When you take into account the proposed cap adjustments included in the President’s budget request, he is recommending an increase of more than 9 percent over fiscal year 2012 for this Subcommittee. This request would expand the size, reach and cost of government. 

The other side of the aisle will say that we are starving the IRS for resources.  This is not true.  While the bill does not provide the nearly $1 billion increase requested by the Administration, it funds the IRS at the fiscal year 2012, which is the level Congress and the White House agreed was appropriate for the current year.  Only in Washington can continuing to fund an agency at their current level be described as a devastating cut.

You will also hear the other side say we are underfunding the SEC.  This is also fiction.  The bill we are debating today provides the SEC with a $50 million increase over the current year.  This is on top of the 6.6 percent increase they received in fiscal year 2011 and the 11.5 percent increase in fiscal year 2012.  Few, if any other agencies have received such large increases since 2010.  The SEC’s problems are not due to a lack of funding.  They are due to poor implementation of information technology, poor economic analysis, a burdensome organizational structure, and a history of not holding their employees accountable.

I want to thank all of the Subcommittee Members for their input into the bill and your participation in our 12 hearings this year.  I also want to thank Chairman Rogers for a fair allocation and his assistance in moving the bill. 

Finally, I would like to thank my good friend Jose Serrano.  When Joe was Chairman of this Subcommittee, 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.

Thank you Chairman Rogers.