|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, July 13, 2000||202-224-0894|
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs voted today to approve legislation that will reduce the amount of fees collected on the transaction and registration of securities, saving investors and public companies as much as $10.3 billion over five years.
The committee also approved legislation (S.2101, sponsored by Sen. Connie Mack) setting out guidelines for cooperating with foreign countries that choose to adopt the U.S. dollar as their official currency.
Two congressional gold medals were approved, honoring Pope John Paul II (S.2453) and former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan (S.2459). The committee also authorized commemorative coins for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (S.2266).
The securities bill, S.2107, The Competitive Market Supervision Act, is aimed at cutting the excess revenue generated by fees on securities transactions and registration. The bill will also allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay its employees on a level comparable to other financial regulators. Amendments approved by the committee offer relief from certain securities regulations and authorize appropriations for the SEC for fiscal year 2001.
"With this vote, we have started the process of repealing one of the most inefficient taxes a society could impose on its members," said Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee. "Under the current fees collected on securities, we are collecting more than four times as much as we need to run the SEC. This fees represent a tax that is basically taking money away from every investor who is trying to accumulate wealth for the future.
"This bill is also intended to give the employees of the SEC pay parity with their counterparts at the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and other financial regulators," Gramm said. "I am alarmed that the SEC is losing 14 percent of its employees every year. The comparable rate at the Federal Reserve is 5 percent. This bill should improve the ability of the SEC to do its job, because you can't perform good regulation without good people.
"Finally, we conducted an extensive survey of investors, retirement funds and market participants to find out what government regulations drove them crazy and what we could do to make the markets work better," Gramm said. "We received numerous suggestions, and we were able to narrow those down to a set of reforms that are acceptable to the regulators and to this committee. No one of these is going to move the markets, but they represent logical reforms to securities laws, and, over time, they will serve the nation well."
In its consideration of S.2107, the committee declined to make changes to the sweeping privacy protections that were applied to individuals' financial information as part of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.