July 25, 2013

Udall-Authored Financial Services and General Government Bill Approved by Committee

Bill supports small businesses, aids law enforcement, and protects 6-day postal delivery

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) today led the Senate Appropriations Committee in approving the fiscal year 2014 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Udall succeeded the late Senator Frank Lautenberg as chairman of the subcommittee earlier this year.

The bill funds a wide range of federal agencies and priorities important to New Mexicans and all Americans. It funds the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that protects families and investors by preventing manipulation of the financial markets, ensures fair administration of the tax code, supports job creation, and protects privacy and civil liberties. Importantly, the bill also ensures the U.S. Postal Service will continue delivering mail six days a week.

"I'm proud of the bill we've written, which despite many budget challenges, reflects the key priorities of this subcommittee. This bill protects American families from fraud and from dangerous consumer products; it safeguards our financial system from abusive and illicit practices; it helps create jobs by supporting Americans in starting, building, and growing small businesses, and by providing seed financing for community development; and it promotes the appropriate balance between anti-terrorism efforts and privacy and civil liberties," Udall said.

"This bill is good for New Mexicans," Udall continued. "It funds programs that support small businesses, which make up almost 96 percent of our state's employers. It invests in economic development efforts on tribal land. It will ensure our law enforcement officers fighting drug smuggling on the border have the tools they need to apprehend dangerous criminals. And it will make sure the Postal Service doesn't end Saturday delivery, which would disproportionally impact rural and elderly customers."

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) added: "I applaud Senator Udall for his excellent work as Chairman of this important subcommittee and for advocating for New Mexico priorities. In addition to the inclusion of funding needed to carry out important consumer protection initiatives and support for small business, I'm especially pleased that the bill protects the six-day postal delivery service."

Funding for several programs will directly benefit New Mexicans, including:

•Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): $114.5 million for Small Business Administration (SBA) grants to SBDCs. Grants are made by formula, and New Mexico will benefit directly.
•Microloan Program: $45 million. The bill includes $25 million in microlending and $20 million in grants for microlenders.
•High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA): $238.5 million.
•Tribal Business and Community Development: $17 million. The bill provides $15 million for Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and $2 million for SBA Native entrepreneur training programs.

Other funding priorities in the bill include:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): $315 million. Farmers and businesses that use the futures markets to manage risk, as well as pensions and endowments, rely on the CFTC to properly monitor the markets to guard against fraud, manipulation, or systemic risk. Bringing more transparency and accountability to the futures and derivatives markets is crucial.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): $1.674 billion. Funding will help the SEC fulfill its mandate to protect investors, maintain fair, honest, and efficient stock and securities markets, and promote capital formation.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): $117 million. With this funding, CPSC will continue to enhance import surveillance activities at the nation's ports of entry to prevent hazardous products from entering the U.S. consumer marketplace. The CPSC will continue development of mandatory product safety rules for durable infant and toddler products. It will expand global outreach efforts to help safer products enter the United States. Finally, CPSC will be able to continue interagency research on nanotechnology to study exposure and potential health risks of nanomaterials in consumer products.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): $301 million. Since the financial crisis, the FTC has been particularly diligent about working to protect consumers from mortgage and debt reduction scams. The Committee also adopted an amendment sponsored by Udall to increase efforts to prevent financial manipulation of oil markets that can increase prices at the pump.

Small Business Administration (SBA): $949 million. Over the last two decades, small and new businesses created two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S., and today over half of all working Americans own or work for a small business.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB): $4.1 million. Funding will help the board ensure that federal laws and policies related to terrorism appropriately consider privacy and civil liberties. These resources, $3.2 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, will enable the newly reconstituted PCLOB to hire staff and pursue its mission without delay in light of recent disclosures of large-scale surveillance programs. Udall has asked the board to investigate the phone records and data collection programs and provide a public report of its findings, and he has pushed for adequate resources to allow the board to carry out its oversight duties. More information on Udall's work can be found here.

A full summary of the bill is available here.