Financial deregulation bills easily pass House

Countries negotiating the Basel III agreement on bank capital requirements have agreed that banks exposed to derivatives risk must increase their capital buffer. But European countries have said some derivatives transactions would be exempt from these new capital requirements.

The bill would simply study what effects that difference might have, including effects on derivatives end users.

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The bipartisan bill passed the House in a 353-24 vote after bill sponsor Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) warned that relaxed rules in Europe could hurt U.S. banks. "This bill is about America versus Europe," he said. All "no" votes came from Democrats.

The second bill is H.R. 1564, the Audit Integrity and Job Protection Act. This legislation would overrule a decision by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to require small public companies to periodically rotate their outside auditors.

The PCAOB's decision was seen by both parties as an overreach, and most members supported a move to allow companies to make these decisions internally. The bill was supported by the Biotechnology Industry Association, and it was approved in a 321-62 vote — again, all "no" votes came from Democrats.

Separately, the House also approved H.R. 1171, the FOR VETS Act, which would expand the list of veterans' organizations that can gain access to federal surplus property to help their education or health-related goals. Members passed this bill 387-1 — the only "no" vote came from Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).