A new bipartisan bill currently making its way through Congress could have significant effects on independent financial regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Authored by Republican Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine, and Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, S.3468 – known as the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 201 – states in part:
The President may by Executive order require an independent regulatory agency to comply, to the extent permitted by law, with regulatory analysis requirements applicable to other agencies . . .
The President may, by Executive order, require an independent regulatory agency to submit to the [Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs] for review—
(A) any proposed significant rule, prior to publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking; and
(B) any final significant rule, prior to publication of the final rule.
For any proposed or final economically “significant rule” – defined by the bill as “having an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more” – introduced by a financial regulatory agency, the President may require a cost-benefit analysis.
On August 1st, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. As The New York Times reported recently, the Committee might debate the proposed bill as early as September 20th.
Also according to The New York Times, the bill has generated significant criticism:
Critics of Wall Street say the bill is an unnecessary check on regulatory power. The S.E.C. and its fellow financial regulators, they say, already draft cost-benefit analyses. The futures trading commission also recently tapped the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to advise on some of its rules.
If Congress and the White House ramp up the requirements, that will translate into months of additional delays, advocates say. The bill, they argue, will also spur court battles over financial regulation, potentially handing Wall Street another victory.