Lately I’ve been hearing the following questions here in Washington with increasing frequency:
- Is Congress going to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act?
- Is Congress going to starve the SEC so it won’t be able to implement Dodd-Frank?
Though it may disappoint some folks, the 112th Congress will not repeal Dodd-Frank. It’s pure fantasy to imagine that enough Senate Democrats – all of whom supported the legislation last summer – would join Senate Republicans to overturn the law now (much less that two-thirds of both the House and Senate would vote to override Obama’s veto). So let’s get real…
It’s harder to answer the second question with certainty.
The SEC’s funding is a relatively small skirmish within a gigantic budget war brewing in DC. House Republicans are charging ahead in an effort to make dramatic decreases to everything in the federal budget, including the SEC. The Senate appears willing to engage, but is not as eager to cut into the bone. While the House and Senate are the primary warriors, don’t count out the Administration’s role in the upcoming melee.
The federal government, which began its 2011 fiscal year last October, is now being funded by virtue of a CR – that’s DC-speak for ‘continuing resolution’ – an omnibus measure that occurs when Congress is unable to agree on appropriations bills that provide specific funding for agencies. The current CR will expire next Friday, March 4, and there’s a serious question as to whether Congress and the White House will be able to reach an agreement by the rapidly approaching deadline.