Hensarling praises SEC chair, but warns against new Dodd-Frank regulation

by Ryan Smith16 Nov 2016
The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee praised outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White at an oversight hearing yesterday – and cautioned her against any rulemaking between now and the time President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

White announced Tuesday that she would be stepping down prior to Trump’s inauguration. Her departure will leave the commission – which normally has five members – with just two members, a Democrat and a Republican. After making the announcement, White appeared before the House Financial Services Committee to testify at the committee’s oversight hearing on the SEC.

Committee chair Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) praised White for her service.

“I do wish to acknowledge, on behalf of all, that Chair White has now completed over two decades of distinguished public service as a U.S. attorney and as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Hensarling said. “She has brought an incredible amount of professionalism to her position. She is known for her independent judgement, which is greatly admired and respected.”

Hensarling also praised White for making herself available to House committees and subcommittees and submitting her testimony on a timely basis.
“If there were cash and valuable prizes we could award you, Madame Chair, for such an accomplishment, we would – but I’m sure we would breech a number of ethical and legal considerations by doing so,” Hensarling joked.

But Hensarling also urged White to avoid pushing through new regulations – especially any related to Dodd-Frank enforcement – before the end of the Obama Administration.

“(W)henever there is a transfer of power from one administration to the other, there is a temptation for federal agencies to rush pending rulemakings to completion, as a way of cementing the policy priorities of the outgoing administration,” he said. “But this type of ‘midnight rulemaking’ is neither conducive to sound policy nor consistent with principles of democratic accountability.

“As there are currently two vacancies at the commission, absent an emergency and given your current reputation and legacy, I would strongly urge you to respect the results of last week’s election and resist the temptation to finalize any regulations, including Dodd-Frank Title VII regulations, in deference to the right of the incoming administration to set its own priorities upon taking office in January.”


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