At a House Financial Services Committee hearing held Oct. 29 on the Obama Administration’s 253 page draft legislation to reform the financial regulatory system, Members of the Committee and witnesses alike admitted to not having had a chance to read the complex proposals which the Committee is scheduled to begin voting on next week. Responding to a question from Ranking Member Spencer Bachus, the 10 witnesses testifying on the third panel all said they have not had enough time to review the bill.
In response to a question from Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) about what companies would come under the authority of a new Systemic Risk Council created by the draft legislation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairwoman Sheila Bair stated: “I am sorry. I have not had a chance to read” the bill. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also qualified his testimony by saying: “Although we have some concerns with the discussion draft, we really haven’t had a chance to go through it."
A letter signed by 22 Republican Members of the Committee to Chairman Barney Frank called for more time to study and understand the draft legislation, circulated on Oct. 27, because it represents the most significant and far reaching legislative proposals considered in the Financial Services Committee in decades.
“To evaluate 253 pages of complex legislative text, the Committee is holding a one-day, three-panel hearing with 17 witnesses and strict time constraints for certain panelists,” the letter stated. Because the draft legislation was released less than 48 hours before the hearing, the witnesses have had little time to digest its contents or consider its implications. This process, in which critical legislation is written behind closed doors and rammed through the Committee without any transparency or deliberation, is unprecedented and unnecessary.”
Ranking Republican Member Spencer Bachus stated: “I doubt that any of today’s witnesses--with the possible exception of Secretary Geithner--have had the opportunity to fully comprehend the legislation in its entirety, or to arrive at informed views on its merits.
For more information, visit www.financialservices.house.gov.