White House pans bill that would limit the SEC’s regulatory power

The White House came out Wednesday against legislation meant to protect the financial sector from overly burdensome regulations imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the GOP-backed bill would impede the agency’s ability to do its job.

Still, a policy statement issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stopped short of threatening a veto should Congress approve the bill, which is scheduled for a vote this week in the House.

Penned by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), the SEC Regulatory Accountability Act would require the agency to conduct cost-benefit analyses on any new rules to ensure that the intended results of added regulations are not outweighed by the expense of implementing them.

The agency is in the process of finalizing scores of new rules, including many required by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) argued that the bill “would impede the ability of the SEC to protect investors, maintain orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.”

Most agencies are expected to incorporate such analyses when developing major rules, which then come under review at the White House. But rulemaking at the SEC and other so-called independent agencies is exempt from OMB review.


“The Administration believes in the value of cost-benefit analysis,” the OMB statement said. “However, [the bill] would add onerous procedures that would threaten the implementation of key reforms related to financial stability and investor protection.”

The bill would force the SEC to study the impacts of regulations before they are known and would require analytical measures that could lead to delays, the White House said.