Letter on Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 2:30pm

The Honorable Hal Rogers
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nita Lowey
 Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations 
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:

As the Committee prepares to mark up the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and
General Government Appropriations bill, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest
business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes,
sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated
to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, urges you to consider
the following recommendations:

 Support bringing both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Office of
Financial Research under the normal appropriations process to ensure accountability.

 Support suspending the CFPB’s rulemaking on consumer arbitration agreements until it
properly considers the demonstrable benefits of consumer arbitration.

 Support a funding limitation prohibiting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
from developing, implementing, finalizing or enforcing universal proxy ballot proposals
or SEC rulemaking to allow or explore universal proxy ballots.

 Support reporting to Congress by financial regulators on their interactions and
negotiations with international bodies such as the G20, Financial Stability Board (FSB),
and the International Organization of Securities Commissions. While these activities can
be productive and beneficial, transparency could help insure that policy aims are
consistent with and meet legislative goals.

 Support restricting the SEC from considering a rulemaking petition on political spending
disclosures. Electioneering activities that are subject to this rulemaking petition are
already disclosed under election law, and the petition is outside of the jurisdiction of the
SEC. Furthermore, shareholders have routinely rejected these disclosures when they

have been proposed by shareholder resolution.1 Also support maintaining the funding
restriction that prohibits political spending or campaign activity reporting requirements or
regulations as a condition of submitting any federal contract offers.

 Support a requirement for a report on the SEC’s implementation of Division G of the
Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). Division G of the FAST Act
includes several provisions to facilitate the ability of businesses to access capital markets
and the pathway to going public. This would allow Congress to monitor the speed of
implementation of the FAST Act.

 Support provisions requiring the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Financial
Stability to provide a report to Congress on the economic and liquidity impacts of the
Basel III capital standards, the Volcker Rule, the Foreign Bank Operations Rule, and
Money Market Fund rules. Financial services regulators have promulgated a series of
regulations to raise capital standards, reduce proprietary trading, truncate the operation of
foreign banks in the US, and lessen volatility in money market funds. The study of the
economic and liquidity impacts of these rules would help regulators and policy leaders
understand the potential unforeseen consequences of these rules and take corrective
action if needed.

 Support requiring all records of any individual payments under 31 U.S.C. 1304 (the
Judgment Fund) be reported to Congress and made available to the public. Currently
there is no requirement that payments from the Judgment Fund be reported to Congress
and made available to the public. Requiring this would provide needed transparency.

 Support an appropriation of $120 million for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA)
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).

 Support an appropriation of $11 million for the SBA’s Service Corps of Retired
Executives (SCORE) program.

 Support an appropriation of $12.3 million for SBA’s Veterans Outreach programs.

 Support $15 million for State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grants under section
1207 of P.L. 111-240. These grants have been instrumental in helping states provide
assistance for small businesses to export.

 Support an appropriation of $9.4 million for the SBA Office of Advocacy.

 Support lending authority in the amount of $28 billion for the SBA 7(a) lending program.
Regulation meant to greatly reduce risk within the banking system has had the
unintended consequence of reducing traditional avenues for lending for small business.
1 A study by the Manhattan Institute has found that shareholder proposals for political spending disclosures at
Fortune 250 companies only garner, on average, 18% support.

As a result, financial institutions have sought other means to mitigate the risk of lending
to small businesses. More robust funding authorization is needed for FY17.

 Support full funding for dedicated, full-time staff to assist the Intellectual Property
Enforcement Coordinator to fulfill its mission of improving government agency
efficiencies and coordination and private sector initiatives to combat intellectual property
theft and counterfeiting of domestic products.

Lastly, the Chamber strongly opposes adoption of any provision that would blacklist
government contractors solely on the basis of a change in the location of their corporate
domicile. Debarring contractors who are in full compliance with U.S. law would undermine the
principles of full and open competition and best value for the taxpayer. Moreover, enactment of
such proposals could place at risk the jobs of American workers who provide goods and services
to the U.S. government.

The Chamber appreciates your consideration of these recommendations as you prepare to
mark up the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten

cc: Members of the Committee on Appropriations