New House spending bills target funding for Dodd-Frank financial reforms

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday unveiled two spending bills that target funding for President Obama’s Wall Street reform law. 

The 2013 Financial Services bill contains a provision that would make the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created by the Dodd-Frank law, subject to the appropriations process starting in fiscal year 2014, rather that allowing it to receive money from the Federal Reserve.

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“This will allow for increased accountability and transparency of the agency’s activities and use of tax dollars. The legislation also requires quarterly reports on CFPB’s activities and spending, and allows Congress to review any funding transfers the agency receives from the Federal Reserve,” a summary of the bill states.

The 2013 Agriculture bill, meanwhile, provides $128 million less in funding than the Obama administration said would be necessary for the Commodity Futures Tradition Commission (CFTC) to carry out Dodd-Frank.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), sponsor of the financial reform bill, blasted the funding bills.

"The Republican appropriations bills defining spending levels for agencies in charge of critical financial regulations is a declaration of unilateral surrender to the forces of irresponsibility that wrecked our economy several years ago and, as we have seen from recent events, might be poised to do it again," he said in a statement.

"The fact that the Republican Party is lavishing money on weapons systems that the Pentagon does not want while reducing the necessary funds for the regulation of derivatives, is a textbook example of terrible priorities," Frank added.

Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) cited the recent multi-billion trading loss at JPMorgan in arguing for funds for financial regulators.

“The CFTC recently announced that it would be using its new authority under Dodd-Frank Act for the very first time, to investigate the record trading loss at JPMorgan. This investigation is a timely example of why the law was necessary and why the Act should be fully funded,” he said.

“After reneging on the bipartisan Budget Control Act, Republican leadership decided to reserve the very worst austerity for the last few discretionary appropriations bills. We are now beginning to see the harsh details of Ryan Budget austerity for domestic priorities in [fiscal year] 2013,” said Dicks.

The House Agriculture bill is $1.38 billion below the Senate’s bill, which is being constructed along the lines of last August’s debt-ceiling deal. The differences in funding mean Congress will have a major fight on its hands as it tries to complete spending bills for the next fiscal year.

Overall, the Agriculture spending bill contains $19.4 billion in discretionary funds, a cut of $365 million below last year.

The Women Infants and Children nutrition program gets $303.5 million more than last year, but Democrats are angry that the Commodity Supplemental Food Program gets $14 million less than Obama was seeking.

“This bill cuts the Commodity Supplemental Food Program $14 million below the budget request and would mean that 43,000, mostly elderly participants, would not receive needed food packages. Needless to say, Democrats will once again defend nutrition programs from irresponsible cuts,” Dicks said.

The Food and Drug Administration, which is implementing tougher inspection requirements, is also cut $16.3 million.

The Financial Services bill has $21.15 billion in funding for its agencies, $376 million below last year’s level and $2 billion below the President’s request.

The bill forbids any IRS spending on President Obama’s healthcare reform. It contains $945 million less for tax collection than President Obama requested, which Democrats say will result in reduced IRS staff and lost tax revenue.

"This funding level would make another round of buyouts necessary. This cut would reduce revenue and increase the deficit by $4 billion per year, costing much more in out-years than it saves," Dicks said.

The legislation also maintains restrictions that forbid the District of Columbia from spending money on abortions and prevents federal funds from being used on needle exchanges or medical marijuana in DC.

This story was updated at 4:50 p.m.