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Top regulators warn on expanding president's powers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top financial regulators have told two senators a bill they are sponsoring would give the president undue influence on supervisory authorities and hurt the agencies' ability to do their job.

Six regulators, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, weighed in against the "Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012."

They were particularly concerned with a provision that would give any president the right to require independent regulatory agencies to submit their rulemakings to the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

"This would give any president unprecedented authority to influence the policy and rulemaking functions of independent regulatory agencies and would constitute a fundamental change in the role of independent regulatory agencies," the financial regulatory officials said in an October 26 letter to the two senators sponsoring the bill, Republican Susan Collins and independent Joseph Lieberman.

"Beyond injecting an Administration's influence directly into our rulemaking, the bill would also interfere with our ability to promulgate rules critical to our missions in a timely manner," said the letter, obtained by Reuters.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa)

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