Subcommittee Passes Tom Graves’ Financial Services Reform Bill

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The House Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Thursday passed the fiscal year 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which was authored by Rep. Tom Graves who is chairman of the subcommittee. The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and other related agencies.

 

The bill totals $23.4 billion. The legislation targets resources to programs that will help boost economic growth and opportunity, protect consumers and investors, promote an efficient federal court system, and stop financial crime. 

“Once again, this bill is a product of an open, inclusive, member-driven process,” said Rep. Graves. “We brought appropriators and authorizers together. We consulted other committees. We fostered personal, member-to-member conversations to make sure priorities in the bill were vetted and supported across jurisdictions. The end result is a conservative bill that represents the majority views of the House.

“The bill brings the rogue, unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the appropriations process, which will finally subject it to congressional oversight and accountability,” Rep. Graves said. “It also includes many significant financial reforms that slash harmful regulations and streamline outdated agency processes. Additionally, the bill creates the Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids, which safeguards funds for future generations. We cut $585 million across the bill to make an initial deposit. The money in this account cannot be spent on any other government program; it’s protected from the spending process and only accessible when our budget deficit is erased. Importantly, this fund sets a new tone for appropriations bills: just because you can spend it, doesn’t mean you should spend it. It’s an approach that causes us to think about what all of this deficit spending means, in whose name we are borrowing the money, and who will get stuck with the debt.”

“The bill targets resources for important programs that will continue current growth, including providing small businesses – the backbone of our economy – with the loans they need to compete at home and abroad,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “It also makes important investments to address some of the many challenges facing our nation – providing funding to fight the crushing opioid epidemic and to protect against cyber-crime. Further, it does this while also demanding tough oversight of federal programs and accountability for the use of every tax dollar.”

Click HERE to view the bill.

Bill Highlights:

Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids – The bill includes a new “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids” in the amount of $585 million. This account safeguards funds for future generations and is available for obligation only when our budget deficit is erased. The $585 million deposit represents 2.5 percent of the total allocation for this bill.  

Financial Reform – 
In Title IX, the bill includes nearly 20 bipartisan financial reform bills that have passed the House during the 115th Congress with a vote of 270 or more. Democrats and Republicans are the sponsors of these provisions. Among these provisions, the bill brings the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection under the regular appropriations process, with a limitation of $485 million in FY19. It also receives independent IG authority, requires congressional action on new rules and allows the president to terminate the director at will.

 

Additionally, building upon the JOBS Act from 2012, the bill includes provisions to facilitate capital formation, enhance our capital markets and provide targeted relief to financial institutions.

Small Business Administration (SBA) – 
The bill contains $737 million for the SBA to help promote opportunities for American small businesses to begin, grow and prosper. This includes full funding to support $30 billion in 7(a) and $7.5 billion in 504 small business loans. Also included is $12.3 million for veterans programs, $18 million for Women’s Business Centers, and $130 million for Small Business Development Centers.

 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  The bill provides $11.6 billion for the IRS. Of the funds, $77 million are targeted to help the IRS with implementing the new tax code adopted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In total, the bill provides Taxpayer Services an additional $31 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level to support IRS’s customer service – such as phone call and correspondence response times – and funding for fraud prevention and cybersecurity.

 

The legislation maintains safeguards and funding prohibitions of taxpayer dollars at the IRS. 

 

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic – The legislation contains $415 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  Within this amount, the bill provides $280 million for High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and $118 million for other federal drug control programs. 

 

In addition to these funds, the bill provides an extra $15.4 million over the budget request to the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General to continue drug interdiction efforts and investigations.

 

Treasury Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) – The bill contains $161 million for TFI to safeguard our financial system against illicit use and strengthen the development and enforcement of sanctions programs. 

 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – The bill contains $335 million for the FCC salaries and expenses to support the administration of payments to television and radio broadcasters out of the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.

 

General Services Administration (GSA)  The bill allows the GSA to spend $8.6 billion out of the Federal Buildings Fund. This level of funding will cover the rent and other costs of buildings and properties owned or occupied by federal government agencies across the nation. In addition, the bill supports critical infrastructure investment on our nation’s border, providing $276 million to fund the second and final phase of construction of the Calexico, CA, Land Port of Entry.

 

The bill includes $150 million for the Technology Modernization Fund for upgrades and improvements to IT systems across the government to prevent cybercrimes, terrorism and intrusion.

 

Further, the bill includes $31 million for the Asset Proceeds and Space Management Fund. The fund will be used to carry out the recommendations of the Public Buildings Reform Board and reduce the inventory of excess federal property to save taxpayer dollars.

 

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  Included in the bill is $1.66 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) salaries and expenses, which is $201 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level due to last year’s one-time costs associated with GSA lease renewals.

 

In addition, the legislation contains policy provisions and reporting requirements to improve transparency, accountability, and fairness and to stop overly burdensome regulation. For example, the bill:

·       Prohibits the agency from requiring the disclosure of political contributions in SEC filings.

·       Title IX contains numerous legislative financial reforms, the vast majority of which have passed the House in the 115thCongress on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.

 

Judiciary  Included in the bill is $7.2 billion for the federal courts – an increase of $155 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This will provide sufficient funding for all federal court activities, the supervision of offenders and defendants living in our communities, court security, and the timely and efficient processing of federal cases.

 

District of Columbia – The bill contains a $751 million federal payment to the District of Columbia which is $30 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Federal payments to the District are primarily to support the courts and other public safety functions and the fiscal year 2019 increases go towards completion of courthouse consolidation projects, and lease and moving costs. It also includes $45 million for the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR), which provides scholarships to low-income students in DC to attend private schools.

 

In addition, the legislation:

  • Maintains provisions prohibiting federal and local funds from being used for abortion;
  • Maintains provisions prohibiting further marijuana legalization;
  • Maintains a prohibition on federal funds from being used for needle exchanges and the supervised consumption of any Schedule I substances in the District of Columbia;
  • Prohibits funds for the DC Death with Dignity Act and fully repeals the local legislation; and
  • Prohibits funds for enforcement of DC Reproductive Non-Discrimination Act.

 

Other Legislative Provisions –

 

·       The bill prohibits the use of funds in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program for abortion.

·       The bill prohibits funding to require that entities applying for or conducting work under federal contracts disclose campaign contributions.

·       The bill includes a provision maintaining the six-day mail delivery requirement for the Postal Service.

·       Title X carries the Email Privacy Act as passed by the House in the 115th Congress.

·       Title XI carries the Amateur Radio Parity Act as passed by the House in the 115th Congress.

 



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