A few weeks ago, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson issued the Blueprint for Reform of Federal Financial Regulatory Agencies (a copy of this document is available on the “Resources” page of Chapter 293's website). This proposal obviously has the potential to have a substantial impact on the work lives of NTEU members at the SEC, as well as at a number of other agencies. Also affected would be the investors, consumers and others who rely upon the critical work performed by NTEU members at these important agencies.
Paulson’s blueprint is complex in some aspects and ambivalent in others. It speaks more to regulatory authority than to personnel structure. Particular aspects that NTEU is continuing to review include the proposal to merge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with the SEC. NTEU wants to ensure that the important regulatory and enforcement work performed by the SEC is not diluted or weakened through poorly conceived personnel decisions.
We live and work in an era of increasingly complex financial markets, with large pools of capital requiring the government’s attention and regulation. In order for the markets to function well, the public must be confident that financial institutions are playing by clear rules. The subprime mortgage crisis has once again underscored the continuing and profound need for regulation, governance and reporting standards.
NTEU members who work at the SEC will continue to play a vital and important role in serving these critical goals in the coming decades. Certainly the elimination or substantial reduction of our agency should never be seriously considered.
Secretary Paulson has admitted that his proposals will not be implemented quickly or without extensive review. In fact, almost everything contained within the Treasury blueprint that could impact personnel or regulatory matters would require congressional action – action that is highly unlikely to be taken before November 2008 and would require considerable time and efforts in any future year.
NTEU has already engaged in communications with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) to express the union’s strong interest in Paulson’s proposals, and our intention to ensure that our members’ interests are addressed if any such proposals are considered by Congress.
Both Senator Dodd and Representative Frank are supportive friends of NTEU and the American investor. We are confident that neither of them will allow a sweeping away of vital investor, consumer or depositor protections, nor will they permit legislation that treats employees unfairly. NTEU continues to stand ready to work with them and other pro-federal employee/ pro-investor members of Congress on these issues.
It is an open question as to whether the proposals in the Treasury blueprint will go forward and, if so, in what form. We know that many employees are anxious and concerned about these proposals. With your continued support, NTEU remains firmly committed to seeing that its members will have a voice with respect to any proposal that is actually considered by Congress.