WASHINGTON - The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday sent a bill to the House floor that would strengthen federal regulation of the government securities market.
Backers of the legislation say they hope the House will vote to approve it without major amendments before members take their recess on Aug. 13. The committee approved the bill on June 2.
If approved by the House, the bill will be sent to a House-Senate conference committee to hammer out the differences between it and a less comprehensive measure approved proved last year by the Senate.
The bill sent to the House floor would give the Securities and Exchange Commission authority to write rules requiring brokers and dealers to keep records of government bond transactions. It would give the Treasury Department authority to write rules requiring dealers to report large positions in the market.
Another provision would allow the National Association of Securities Dealers to set sales practice rules for the government securities market. A controversial provision opposed by the industry would give the SEC backup authority to assure price transparency in the market.
Aides said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., have agreed to ask the House leadership to put the bill on the suspension calendar, meaning it will be treated as a non-controversial measure that can be brought up for an expedited vote without major amendments.
Mr. Rostenkowski has claimed jurisdiction over the bill, arguing that his committee is responsible for Treasury debt issues. In addition, the Ways and Means Committee's oversight subcommittee issued a report in March recommending legislation that would make it a violation of the law to make false or misleading statements to government issuers.
But aides said the jurisdictional dispute can be avoided under an agreement in which Mr. Dingell pledged in writing to Mr. Rostenkowski to work on a "friendly" floor amendment to meet the concerns of Ways and Means.
The Public Securities Association favors the Senate version of the legislation, which only calls for a government study on price dissemination issues. The Senate bill also gives less authority to the SEC in the government securities market.