House Financial Services Committee chairman will retire in 2007
U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, says he plans to retire when his current term ends in January 2007.
Because House Republican leadership policies limit committee chairmen to 3 terms, Oxley would have had to step down from his post as head of the Financial Services Committee in January 2007 even if he had stayed in the House.
Oxley has served in Congress since 1981. When the Republicans reorganized House committees in 2001 to combine all financial services oversight under the jurisdiction of one committee, he became the committee’s first chairman.
Oxley helped shepherd the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act bill through Congress in 1999. That bill revised securities industry regulation, tore down the wall the Glass-Steagall Act erected between the banking and insurance industries in 1933, and explicitly supported states’ right to oversee the insurance industry.
Oxley also helped enact the landmark 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which increased top corporate executives’ legal responsibility for the accuracy of the financial information that their companies release.
In recent years, Oxley has been associated with efforts to help create a “road map” for increasing the uniformity of state insurance regulation.
The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, has been active in efforts to shape Oxley’s regulatory modernization efforts and work with him on other legislative issues.
“Chairman Oxley has been a strong leader in representing the interests of consumers and industry on financial services issues,” ACLI President Frank Keating says in a statement. “We commend Chairman Oxley for his hard work on the Financial Services Committee and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Insurance industry lobbyists are speculating that Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who has been in Congress since 1993, has the votes in the Republican caucus to succeed Oxley as head of the Financial Services Committee. Bachus heads the committee’s Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee.
Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., the former favorite, has lost support within the Republican caucus because Bachus has done more to raise money for fellow GOP House candidates than Baker has, lobbyists say.
Baker has been in Congress since 1987. He leads the Financial Services Committee’s Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee.
Other candidates for the committee chairmanship include Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, chairman of the Financial Services Committee’s Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology Subcommittee, and Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., the three-time chairman of the House Rules Committee.
Lobbyists and congressional staffers say it is likely House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will try to ease tensions within the Republican caucus by waiving the committee chairmanship term limit and letting Dreier keep his spot as head of the Rules Committee.
Another industry source confirmed that Dreier is likely to be given the waiver, but cautioned that the race between Bachus and Baker remains close. “It is far too early to say that this contest is anything but neck and neck. They have different strengths.”