Ranking Member Waters’ Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup of Capital Markets Bills
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, made the following statement today at a meeting of the Committee held to mark up the following legislation:
Click here to view the video of Ranking Member Waters opening statement.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Today we are considering four pieces of legislation, three of which make changes to the landmark Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. I have stated before that I am open to making technical changes to Dodd-Frank, and will carefully weigh the merits of each change. Just last week, we made two such technical changes to the derivatives reform provisions that help improve the reform legislation. However, I and 123 other Members from both sides of the aisle stood together to oppose a separate bill last week that threatens to undermine crucial derivatives reforms.
It is with this eye that I view the four bills today.
With regard to H.R. 2374, which amends Section 913 of Dodd-Frank, let me say that I am deeply troubled that this bill raises the same issues as the SEC cost-benefit bill, H.R. 1062, which Democrats overwhelmingly opposed on the floor last month. These concerns are also shared by SEC Chair White. This appears to be yet another attempt to bog the SEC down to the point where they’re unable to put forward a rulemaking – even a rulemaking related to the crucial issue of protecting the hard earned retirement savings of millions of American families. I am sympathetic to the desire to require coordination between the Department of Labor and the SEC so that investors, no matter who they are, can rely on one strong standard of care, no matter who is giving them advice. However, the bill also puts in additional redundant cost-benefit analyses that will only slow down this important rulemaking, and possibly tie up a final rule in years of court litigation.
With regard to H.R. 1135 being considered today, I have the same concerns from the last Congress. I think that section 953(b) of Dodd-Frank has the potential to provide useful information to shareholders about the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay, and that reasonable people can find ways to mitigate any burdens of complying with this provision. Last Congress, then Ranking Member Frank offered a constructive fix to enable the SEC to implement the provision, which I supported. Repealing the provision, as the bill does, is shortsighted.
With regard to H.R. 1105, I voted against this bill when it came before the subcommittee last Congress and continue to oppose. Unlike last Congress, private equity fund advisers have begun complying with Dodd-Frank and are now registered with the SEC. Also, the SEC has identified real investor protection concerns at some funds, including inappropriately assessed fees and fund valuations. I question whether it is a wise idea to roll-back transparency and investor protections. I also note that SEC Chair White expressed strong concerns about exempting these fund advisers.
Finally, with regard to H.R. 1564, while I question whether mandatory auditor rotation is the best way by which to enhance auditor independence, I am concerned about micromanaging the PCAOB and tying their hands in perpetuity, particularly since all they have done so far is to ask questions about the issue. But by introducing this bill, it has become clear that the issue of auditor rotation is worthy of widespread debate in Congress, since the issue is highly complex and of substantial importance.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.