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

Jun 6, 2012

Welcome to the mark up of the fiscal year 2013 Financial Services and General Government bill. As you know, this 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 and $2 billion below the request. 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: 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.

Funding for the IRS remains flat. The bill does not include the nearly $1 billion increase proposed in the budget request and prohibits any further transfers from HHS to the IRS to implement the healthcare law. The IRS should be able to complete its mission with the nearly $12 billion this bill provides.

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.

The final agency I want to discuss is the General Services Administration. 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 Regional Conference do not reflect the diligent, hard work of many GSA public servants, the scandal has exposed to this Subcommittee and to the American public a grave deficiency in transparency and the vulnerability of GSA funds for abuse.

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 Subcommittee as the bill moves forward.