Gutting Regulatory Reform

One priority the congressional GOP hasn’t been eager to talk about is its desire to utterly undermine efforts to regulate the financial sector:

Already, the SEC has halted implementation of a variety of measures under the law as it waits for funding. Included in this halt are new regulations for credit rating agencies and an office for financial markets whistleblowers. The Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (which is charged with implementing the derivatives title of the bill) has said that its current funding level “is far less than what is required to properly fulfill our significantly expanded role.” “The implementation of that good and historic law is in jeopardy if the CFTC doesn’t have increased resources,” Bart Chilton, a CFTC commissioner, has said.

If the prospects for enhanced funding next year looked promising, this would be less of a problem. However, House Republicans are threatening to deny funding to the agencies implementing the bill when they take control, and in particular to kneecap the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before it even gets off the ground. This is much the same game that the GOP is threatening to play when it comes to funding the Affordable Care Act, which also got tripped up by the omnibus spending bill’s defeat.

I would note that one contrast with the ACA is the right doesn’t even need to really “win” the funding battle in order to achieve its dream of gutting bank regulation. Rep Spencer Bachus will be charing the House Financial Services Committee and his view “is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.” Political appointees and professional staff alike will be aware of his views, and thus aware that their agency’s ability to secure funding depends in part on their ability to effectively serve the interests of the banking sector. And that’s going to be true on a continuing basis until such time as the conservative movement becomes less fanatical aboutits desire to increase wealthiness of rich people.