WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) today called upon U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck to re-evaluate their decision to place a barrier over the 166,000 tons of contaminated materials at the Ringwood Superfund Site instead of pursuing complete removal of the toxic substances.
Recent discoveries of significant levels of 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen that may result in liver, kidney, and upper respiratory damage, at levels close to 100 times the state maximum standard, raises new concerns about the EPA’s decision to cap the site. Congressman Garrett demands that the EPA identify all potential toxic substances that may be present at the Ringwood Superfund Site and ensure that a new cleanup plan rectifies the presence of all hazardous substances once and for all.
“As you know, the Ringwood Superfund Site is a decades old and continued concern for New Jersey residents,” said Garrett in his request to the EPA. “The discovery of an additional toxic substance has increased public concern about the EPA’s decision to approve the plan to cap the site. New Jersey residents deserve to know that a plan to mitigate hazardous substances in their communities will be successful and will permanently remove the public health threat posed to them.”
The Congressman is also demanding answers from a February 2016 letter where he requested information about groundwater tests when it came to light that they had knowledge of the presence of 1,4-dioxane. To date, the EPA has not responded to these requests.
Congressman Garrett’s Specific Requests from the EPA:
1. Is the EPA reevaluating the decision to cap the site instead of a full cleanup due to the discovery of a new toxic substance and the possibility that other toxic substances may be present?
2. What were the reasons behind approving the plan to cap the site despite the EPA initially supporting a full cleanup?
3. What are the criteria for pursuing the plan to cap the site and does the presence of a new toxic substance affect these criteria?
To read the entire letter, click here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (NJ-05), delivered the following remarks at a hearing entitled “Continued Oversight of the SEC’s Offices and Divisions”:
Congressman Scott Garrett’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
Today, the Subcommittee will continue its efforts to conduct vigorous oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in particular the individual offices which make up the SEC
In the last two years, our Subcommittee has heard testimony from the directors of the Trading and Markets, Corporations Finance, Enforcement, and Investment Management Divisions at the SEC
These hearings have allowed us to take a more thorough look at the agency’s operations, rulemaking agenda, and enforcement practices so that we can better understand whether the SEC is appropriately carrying out its three-fold mission to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and (last but certainly not least!) facilitate capital formation
So I welcome our witnesses today and look forward to hearing their testimony – I hope that between the four of you, we are able to cover a lot of ground
Back in 2000, the SEC’s operating budget was about $369 million; today, the SEC has a budget authority for Fiscal Year 2016 of a little over $1.6 billion
And the SEC has recently submitted a request to bring its Fiscal Year 2017 budget up to nearly $1.8 billion
So during much of the time when Congress has been accused of starving the SEC of the funds it needs to fulfill its mission, its budget has actually quadrupled in the last fifteen years
It would be one thing if this four-fold increase in funding coincided with an agency that has become four times as effective
Instead, we are likely to look back at this period as a time when the SEC missed some of the greatest frauds in history, was ill-prepared for the financial crisis of 2008, failed to properly incorporate economic analysis into rulemakings, and, more recently, has often times been complicit in advancing the priorities of special interests
Unfortunately, instead of addressing some of the fundamental structural issues at the SEC, the Dodd-Frank Act created more offices within the agency - two of which we will hear from today
Dodd-Frank also granted the agency vast new rulemaking authority that the SEC has often times struggled to implement appropriately
For example, while the SEC has made strides towards improving the economic analysis that underlies its rulemakings, there is still much more work to be done in this area
It’s not acceptable for the SEC to simply say “Congress made us do it” and therefore assume that a rulemaking is beneficial, as the SEC did with its “pay-ratio” rule last year
It’s also incumbent upon the SEC to clearly articulate a problem or market failure that their rules are intended to address, which should be obvious but is still unfortunately lacking in many of the Dodd-Frank rules being implemented
So I’m eager to hear about some of the steps the SEC is taking to further improve its economic analysis
I also continue to have concerns over recent rulemakings related to credit rating agencies
While there is broad agreement that certain provisions in Dodd-Frank – such as the removal of references to credit ratings in regulations – were much needed and directly address one of the causes of the financial crisis, I worry that many of the other micro-managing rules included in Dodd-Frank have had the effect of further stifling competition in the credit rating agency industry
By Rep. Scott Garrett
For too long, tax and spend politicians have used the tax code to confiscate more money from working families in New Jersey because they believe the government can spend the funds better than those that earned it. And each tax season, New Jerseyans are painfully reminded of their high tax burden.
At over 70,000 pages containing 4 million words, chances are you didn't read the entire U.S. tax code before filing your taxes this year. In fact, the tax code is so long and complicated that you probably ended up having to pay a person or a service for their expertise -- all the while hoping that they read and understood all 70,000 pages.
This is a tax code in desperate need for reform. Reform that keeps more money in New Jersey, ends the special interest loopholes, and lowers the overall tax margins for everyone.
Keep the money at home
Some politicians view tax reform and the ever-growing government as yet another opportunity to empower themselves at the expense of hardworking New Jersey taxpayers. By advocating for more programs and more benefits, big government spenders are really placing their faith in bureaucrats. So rather than send taxpayer dollars to Washington and hope bureaucrats send it back, I am fighting to keep more of your money in your own pocket.
Our overly complex tax code is the lifeblood of the biggest scam perpetuated by Washington politicians. They take your hard-earned money through a broken tax system that no one understands, and then cut backroom deals to give this money to their favored programs. And if some tiny amount actually comes home, the taxpayers are supposed to thank Washington for giving some of it back.
Think of it this way. If someone stole a $50 bill out of your pocket, would you thank that person after they brought you a happy meal from a fast food restaurant? f course not! It's your money and you know better how it should be spent.
Even the playing field
Next, we must end the tax benefit system bestowed to Washington's favored industries. The current tax code is a grab bag of loopholes, deductions, and escape routes for those fortunate enough to be able to hire an army of tax attorneys and lobbyists.
Every year, pinstriped lobbyists descend upon Washington to receive their tax carve outs -- known as tax credits -- for their industry. Not only does this arrangement let the federal government pick winners and losers, it misallocates the capital investment that so many struggling industries need. And the individual taxpayer, who has no lobbyist in Washington, is left picking up the tab.
This is not the type of economic liberty and freedom of opportunity the Founders envisioned.
New Jerseyans should no longer be expected to pay for government favors enjoyed by mega-corporations and Washington's preferred industries. Every industry should play on the same, even playing field, not the rigged system of carve outs we have now. Additionally, the number of deductions -- which allow businesses to lower their tax burden --should be significantly reduced.
If it's broke, fix it
And on the individual level, we need a simpler, fairer, and flatter tax code free of loopholes. The average American spent 13 hours preparing their taxes last year -- totaling more than 6 billion hours for all Americans. Navigating the tax code has become too complicated and time consuming.
Instead, the tax code needs to be simplified so that high-powered corporate executives, who can hire expensive tax attorneys to lower their rates and find loopholes, don't end up paying a lower percentage than a single mom working two jobs.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
New Jerseyans have been frustrated by bureaucrats in Washington who continuously waste tax dollars. Comprehensive tax reform will force the government to be more efficient, effective, and accountable to the people. Americans deserve a tax system that provides equal opportunity and economic freedom for everyone, not just those who have power and influence in Washington.
Rep. Scott Garrett, a Republican, represents New Jersey's 5th Congressional District, which includes most of Sussex County.Read More
By Rep. Scott Garrett
As one-size-fits-all regulation and top-down mandates continue to strangle our economy, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 has proven to be a breath of fresh air. This truly bipartisan accomplishment that I helped shepherd through Congress has led a resurgence in the initial public offering market and allowed more companies to raise capital through private channels. Simply put, the JOBS Act opens doors for capital to flow into growing and innovative businesses.
But the JOBS Act may not reach its full potential. That’s because many provisions of the JOBS Act were not self-effectuating upon becoming law. Instead, the bill directed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement these new provisions through regulation, leaving the SEC a great deal of discretion as to how the JOBS Act will work in practice.
The SEC has a mixed record when it comes to fulfilling its obligation to promote capital formation, one of the agency’s three core missions. Take the issue of the SEC’s performance on crowdfunding. While the SEC was required to issue rules nine months after the JOBS Act passed, the SEC took three years to do so. When the SEC finally got around to issuing the rules, the final regulations diluted the ambitious goals laid out in Congress.
Crowdfunding was intended to give all Americans, regardless of income level, the ability to make financial investments. However, the SEC added burdensome requirements and placed arbitrary caps on investment — imposing its judgement over that of working Americans seeking to invest their hard-earned savings. This nanny-state mentality creates a system in which wealthy Americans have a greater ability to earn a return on investment than lower- or middle-income households who are restricted by SEC regulation.
Additionally, the SEC missed the mark when it proposed new restrictions on issuers under Regulation D of the 1933 Securities Act, which lays out three exemptions for securities sellers from registering their offering with the SEC. Under the JOBS Act, Congress allowed Regulation D issuers the ability to advertise their shares to the general public for the first time.
However, the SEC’s proposal would hinder the ability of all Reg. D issuers to raise capital through private channels — not just those who take advantage of the new opportunity to advertise their shares. While the SEC has not implemented these proposals, its attempt to impose new barriers to investment was seriously misguided.
There are some parts of the SEC’s record that deserve recognition. Its modernization of Regulation A, which provides an exemption that allows companies to raise capital from the public markets without having to issue a full-fledged IPO, was commendable. The SEC’s actions ensured that most Regulation A issuers would be spared the burden of complying with a conflicting web of individual state registration requirements, and subsequently companies are starting to raise capital under the modernized Regulation A.
Monitoring the implementation and impact of the JOBS Act remains a top priority of the Capital Markets Subcommittee, and we intend to move legislation to fix the mistakes made by the SEC. But the JOBS Act was just a beginning — and there is more that Congress can and should do to help entrepreneurs grow and prosper.
For example, while the JOBS Act did a great deal to reduce the cost of an initial capital raise, more should be done to help issuers trade in the aftermarket. Lack of liquidity and competition in the secondary-market trading of small-capitalization companies has long made access to capital difficult. As SEC Chair Mary Jo White noted in a recent speech at Stanford University, some 70% of startups die within 20 months of their last financing.
To spur competition and increase liquidity, I introduced the Main Street Growth Act, which would establish the legal framework for the creation of venture exchanges — stock exchanges specifically designed for the trading of small-capitalization stocks. Businesses that use provisions of the JOBS Act — such as the IPO “on ramp” or the modernized Regulation A — would be eligible to list and trade on a venture exchange. Venture exchanges are a logical next step to increase the flow of capital throughout our economy.
Congress and the SEC should consider other solutions, such as reform of intrastate offering regulations and micro offerings, which would allow a business to solicit investments from a group of known investors without running afoul of SEC rules. Such reforms warrant further congressional consideration to achieve the goal of removing roadblocks to capital formation for startups.
The lesson of the financial crisis is that Keynesian economics can never replace the free market as a source of prosperity for the American people. When government stops the regulatory squeeze, the creativity of the American people will quite literally pay off.
Garrett, a Republican who represents New Jersey’s fifth congressional district, is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (NJ-05), delivered the following remarks at a hearing entitled “The JOBS Act at Four: Examining Its Impact and Proposals to Further Enhance Capital Formation”:
Congressman Scott Garrett’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
It’s not very often that Congress can look back at a major piece of legislation and be able to measure the tangible, positive impact it is having on peoples’ lives and on our economy
Too often, we find ourselves – particularly on this Committee – counting up the costs of misguided Washington mandates and comparing them with the phantom benefits promised by the bureaucratic class
Fortunately, that is not the case today
The Jumpstart our Business Startups - or “JOBS” Act – signed into law four years ago this month has by most measures been a resounding success for our economy and the future of innovation in America
The JOBS Act did this not by creating new federal mandates or spending taxpayer money on wasteful programs, but by empowering entrepreneurs and innovators who were struggling under a regulatory regime that was better suited for 1934 than it was for 2016
Just consider some of the following:
So while it’s clear that many parts of the JOBS Act are working as intended, the point of this hearing is not to pat ourselves on the back and say “job well done”
For starters, because the Senate tried its best back in 2012 to neuter the crowdfunding title and the SEC has taken some liberties with other rulemakings, the JOBS Act needs some “fixing”
So I want to thank the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. McHenry, for putting forward the “Fix Crowdfunding Act” which makes some necessary changes to help ensure Title III reaches its full potential
Additionally, I have put forward a bill – the Private Placement Improvement Act – that will prohibit the SEC from implementing burdensome new rules for Reg D issuers that were uncalled for by the JOBS Act
We’ll also consider two other bills today
Mr. Emmer has introduced an innovative bill that would create a safe harbor for so-called “micro offerings”, and Mr. McHenry has another bill which would raise the threshold for when venture capital funds would have to register with the SEC
In addition to these targeted fixes, I’m also interested in hearing from our witnesses about further areas that Congress should be addressing in order to maintain the competitiveness of our capital markets
For example, we should be exploring the cumulative burdens that come with being a public company – including, unfortunately, some of the ridiculous disclosure requirements of Dodd-Frank as well as the outsized influence that proxy advisory firms have in the corporate governance arena
It’s also time to think more about the lack of research and liquidity that exists for certain public companies, and whether the equity research Global Settlement of 2003 swung the pendulum too far and has led to a dearth of research for small cap stocks
These are all important questions, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today.
A letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew by a member of Congress on Monday highlights the awkward international consequences of a U.S. federal judge’s decision to rescind federal oversight of MetLife Inc.
Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on capital markets, wrote to Mr. Lew asking how, after the decision, the U.S. now will proceed with applying new regulatory standards to insurers designated “systemically important.”
The awkward subtext: The U.S. effectively has promised other countries it will apply tighter standards to MetLife, but the federal government no longer has the authority to do so. That could be reversed if the Obama administration wins the case on appeal, a process that could take months.
Mr. Garrett’s criticisms are ones long held by the U.S. insurance industry and state insurance regulators regarding the Financial Stability Board, a group of global regulators from the U.S. and other countries.
On July 18, 2013, the FSB published a list of insurance companies it called “globally systemically important insurers” and agreed they should face tighter supervision. The Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission are U.S. representatives on the FSB. Since the FSB operates by consensus, Mr. Lew and other FSB members effectively endorsed the list of globally systemically important insurers.
That has long irked the insurance industry and regulatory critics such as Mr. Garrett, who point out the list was developed before U.S. regulators on the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council decided to apply stricter rules to domestic insurance companies. MetLife was on the July 2013 FSB list, along with rivals American International Group Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc., but MetLife wasn’t designated “systemically important” in the U.S. until December 2014. Prudential received the label in September 2013, and AIG received it July 8, 2013.
Mr. Garrett on Monday asked for a series of documents from Mr. Lew related to the FSB work. He also asked whether Mr. Lew plans to continue pursuing the stricter international standards the U.S. has agreed to apply to MetLife, now that the court has rescinded the federal government’s authority to do so.
MetLife is still overseen by state regulators, including in its home state of New York, and it is possible those regulators could take the view the firm deserves stricter rules because of its size and potential impact on the economy. But state regulators aren’t part of the FSB—a fact that has long frustrated them—so it is far from clear that they would keep up the U.S. end of the international bargain.
A Treasury spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Lew previously has said that the U.S. and international processes for determining “systemically important” firms are separate and that U.S. regulators made their own decision about applying stricter rules MetLife and the other firms without regard to any international agreement.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, issued the following statement after the Department of Labor (DOL) announced their finalized rule for retirement advisors—known as the “fiduciary rule”—that could turn retirement planning into an unaffordable luxury. The hyper-partisan rule was unveiled at the liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, with a group of Democrat lawmakers.
“Saving for the future shouldn’t be a privilege for the wealthy, and Washington doesn’t need to put another roadblock between people and their financial goals. By ignoring the advice of the SEC and Congress, the DOL’s rule will increase the cost of retirement advice for lower- and middle-income Americans while creating a preferred class of rich investors. I will continue to fight for everyone’s right to get good financial advice because—unlike this administration—I believe in the people of New Jersey to make the best choices for their families and their futures.”
The DOL fiduciary rule could result in many people finding out that their accounts are too small to qualify for professional advice because providers will be forced to only service large accounts. In many cases, minimum account balances will increase substantially, effectively shutting down the ability of average investors to receive advice. It could also limit access to financial products that people are able to utilize when developing a retirement savings portfolio.
In October, Congressman Garrett voted for H.R. 1090, the Retail Investor Protection Act, which would block the DOL’s rule and ask for advice and expertise from the Securities and Exchange Commission before implementing any new rules.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, issued the following statement after a federal judge struck down a systemically important financial institution (SIFI) designation by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for the first time ever today.
“FSOC’s perfect storm of secrecy and intimidation has created a shadow regulatory system that concentrates power in Washington at the expense of hardworking Americans, and I’m pleased to see the judicial branch took a stand for the Constitution with their decision. Now that the courts have spoken, it’s time for Congress to step in and pull back the curtain on FSOC so the American people can see what this secretive body is really up to.”
Garrett has led the call for much-needed transparency and accountability at the FSOC. He is the author of H.R. 3557, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) Transparency and Accountability Act. This bill passed the Financial Services Committee in November.
H.R. 3557 would:
Garrett to FSOC: Unlike FSOC, Our Deliberations are Actually Open and Transparent to the Public
Garrett: Fed Proves Again That They’re Out of Touch
Garrett Bill to Shed Light on FSOC Passes Committee
Garrett Reacts to FSOC “Transparency” Measures
Garrett Denied Access to FSOC Meeting, Introduces Legislation to Bring Sunshine to Council
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) issued the following statement after President Obama ignored Cuba’s refusal to extradite convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard and terrorist William Morales during his remarks in Cuba today:
“During President Obama’s speech in Havana with Cuban President Castro this afternoon he talked about a Rolling Stones concert, a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game, and urged Congress to lift the trade embargo against the tyrannical regime. The president did not, however, mention a single word about the extradition of convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard or terrorist William Morales. These cowardly criminals must face justice here in the United States for their crimes before Congress has any debates about lifting the trade embargo, and the president’s failure to make this a priority in negotiations between our countries is truly upsetting to those seeking justice.”
Press Release - Garrett Leads Formal Call on Obama to Address Extradition of Murderers on Upcoming Trip to Cuba
Press Release - Garrett: President Should Not Visit Cuba Until Murderers are Returned to U.S.
NJ.com - N.J. lawmakers urge no funding for Cuban relations until Chesimard is returned to U.S.
The Express-Times - Lawmakers lambaste Cuba's decision to protect N.J. cop-killer Joanne Chesimard
Miami Herald - Hiding in Cuba, fugitive Joanne Chesimard remains a terrorist thug
Press Release - Garrett: Cuba Should Not Be Removed from Terrorist Sponsor List
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05), a senior member of the House Budget Committee, issued the following statement after the House Budget Committee passed his amendment to encourage House leadership to find $30 billion in cuts in future fiscal bills. Garrett’s amendment was the only amendment that was adopted by the committee. The budget was ultimately reported out of committee with Garrett’s support.
“During the House Budget Committee markup, almost every one of my colleagues recognized that our national debt is approaching $20 trillion and we need to act now. That’s why I’m pleased that my colleagues on the committee and Speaker Ryan were supportive of my amendment to make sure that the House will vote on additional spending cuts. It’s an uphill battle, but these are the fights the American people are expecting us to have, and I’m proud to be at the forefront of this serious debate.”
2232 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
On January 3, 2013, Congressman Scott Garrett was sworn in to the United States House of Representatives, representing New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District. Since his election to Congress in 2002, Scott has burnished himself with a reputation as a leading advocate of tax relief and pro-growth economic policies, earning him awards and accolades from a number of national taxpayer and small business groups.
As a senior member of the House Budget Committee, Scott is on the frontline of House Republican efforts to rein in runaway government spending and shrink our country’s ballooning national debt.
A member of the House Financial Services Committee since his election to Congress, Scott has been at the forefront of public policy deliberations dealing with issues related to the financial services industry, developing considerable expertise in areas ranging from securities and finance to insurance and regulatory oversight.
At the beginning of the 112th Congress, Scott was selected to serve as the Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Market and Government-Sponsored Enterprises. In this role, Scott presides over the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In addition, the subcommittee also handles all matters related to capital markets activities such as business capital formation and venture capital, as well as derivative instruments.
As founder and Chairman of the Congressional Constitution Caucus, Scott is highly respected among his House colleagues as an authority on constitutional issues. Founded in 2005, the Constitution Caucus provides an effective forum for education on constitutional principles and discussion on the appropriate limitations of congressional action.
Born in Englewood, Scott has spent much of his life living in North Jersey, which has instilled in him a great appreciation for the outdoors. He is a leading proponent of preserving open space and protecting such natural treasures as the Highlands, the Musconetcong River and the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.
Prior to his election to Congress, Scott served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1990 to 2002, as the senior Assemblyman for the 24th Legislative District, Assistant Majority Leader, and Chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee. During his tenure, he also served on the Education, Transportation, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committees, as well as the Joint Committee on Public Schools.
Scott earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State University and his Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law – Camden.
Scott resides in Wantage Township in Sussex County with his wife, Mary Ellen, and their two daughters, Jennifer and Brittany.
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Today the House took an important step toward encouraging startups and entrepreneurship in the US with the HALOS Act https://t.co/S4Y1kKcpZs
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I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mayor Lizette Parker. She was committed to the town she served and the people of Teaneck.
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Today the House took an important step toward encouraging startups and entrepreneurship in America with the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups
Did you know that the federal government can check your email without a warrant if it’s over 180 days old? Today I voted for the Email Privacy
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mayor Lizette Parker. Mayor Parker was a committed and principled advocate for the town she
Recent discoveries of 1,4-dioxane—a probable human carcinogen—at the Ringwood Superfund Site raises new concerns about the EPA’s decision
Thanks to the team at Spectra Laboratories for taking the time to discuss the hurdles facing their industry and the work they’re doing at their