September 19, 2016

U.S. House Financial Services Committee Votes To Repeal SEC Conflict Minerals Rule

Last Tuesday on a largely party line vote, the U.S. House Financial Services Committee passed legislation, H.R. 5983 the Financial CHOICE Act, that includes a provision to repeal the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) conflict minerals regulation. The vote was 30 to 26; all Democrats voted against the bill while all but one Republican voted for it. 

As the law firm Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg explains, the Financial Services Committee summary of the bill said the conflict minerals rule imposes “enormous compliance costs” on public companies but “has not illuminated companies’ sourcing of conflict minerals to any meaningful degree.” The summary also argues the regulation has not helped the citizens of Central Africa that it was meant to help. MSCI agrees with these conclusions and supported this provision of the Financial CHOICE Act. 

Unfortunately, is unclear whether or not the full House will take up this legislation before the end of the 114th Congress in December. Additionally, there is no similar piece of legislation in the Senate, which means the conflict minerals repeal has no chance of becoming legislation this year. Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the sponsor of H.R. 5983, however, has pledged to reintroduce his bill in the 115th Congress if Republicans keep the House majority.