House Votes to Revoke SEC’s Oil, Mining Payment Rule

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By Rob Tricchinelli

The House voted Feb. 1 to revoke an SEC disclosure rule for oil, gas and mining companies, an early sign of Republican wishes to chip away at the Dodd-Frank Act under the Trump administration.

The rule, set to take effect in 2018, would require companies like Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. to disclose payments they make to foreign governments to develop natural resources. It was required by Dodd-Frank.

Votes mostly split across party lines as the House passed a resolution, 235-187, to disapprove the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rule.

Lawmakers moved the resolution using the Congressional Review Act, which allows a new session of Congress to undo some executive actions from the previous session.

The measure will head to the Senate, where under CRA rules it only requires a simple majority to pass. It is sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) in the House and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) in the Senate.

It is unclear when the Senate will act, but the chamber has “fast track” authority to limit debate and move quickly. The CRA requires action within 60 “legislative days,” which depends on Congress’s calendar and could actually last several months longer.

The SEC first adopted the rule in 2012, but that version was tossed out by a federal court after a lawsuit by the American Petroleum Institute. After the suit, OxFam America Inc. sued the agency separately to speed up the rule. A different federal court granted OxFam’s request, leading to the June adoption of the new rule.

Resource companies and business groups still opposed the rewritten rule. In a letter to lawmakers the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asked Congress “to undo SEC’s attempt to twist the Dodd-Frank statute to compel disclosures at corporations.”

“It is outrageous and unbelievable to me that anyone would oppose simple transparency rules that combat corruption,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Tricchinelli in Washington at rtricchinelli@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Phyllis Diamond at pdiamond@bna.com; Seth Stern at sstern@bna.com

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