This morning in Washington, D.C., Senator John Thune (R, SD), the Senate Minority Whip, spoke on a variety of investment topics circulating through Capitol Hill at a Punchbowl News event sponsored by American Investment Council.
With mid-term elections less that two months away Thune remained sanguine about Republican prospects to overtake the majority in the Senate.
Nothing was mentioned about his recent co-sponsorship of the bipartisan Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, which gives regulatory authority over bitcoin and ether to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
But, he did speak about general dissatisfaction with recent practices of securities regulators – namely the Securities and Exchange Commission led by Biden Administration appointee Gary Gensler, its Chair.
Overall, the SEC’s commission tilts Democratic with a 3-2 edge.
Thune was interviewed by Punchbowl News Founder, Anna Palmer and elaborated on the dynamics between the SEC and Republicans today.
There’s been a lot of frustration by some lawmakers about the SEC and the Biden Administration… accusing them of being too activist and trying to regulate private equity and a host of other businesses, in general. What’s your take? Do you think Republicans will try to use the levers of Congress to put some pressure on the SEC to stop?
SENATOR JOHN THUNE (R, SD):
I think that we will use the levers that we have available to us and if we were the majority, surely one would be funding and the power of the purse.
But, I would also say – and this is what Senator McConnell said about the Senate being in the personnel business – there are 1200 executive branch nominees that have to come to the Senate for confirmation. So, if the administration is looking at putting somebody in a particular position, they would have to work with Republicans in the Senate. So you have some influence and leverage there. You have leverage points on the funding.
But, I don’t think there’s any question that the amount of pressure the administration’s applying through the so-called ESG environmental, social and governance movement, and using regulators – particularly financial and securities industry regulators – to either reward or punish companies for investing in [the administration’s] favorite types of industries is something we want to address.
The heavy-hand-of-government regulation in certain sectors of our economy already is having a profound impact – energy being one.
One that we’re concerned about is agriculture. I mean, there are small lenders in places like South Dakota really worried about what this is going to mean if they decide that a livestock producer in western South Dakota emits methane that therefore shouldn’t get funded by a bank because a regulatory institution is putting pressure on whether or not to make a loan.
I think those are very real impacts. This has happened. So yes, there will be attempts by [Republicans] to try and reign in and lighten the regulatory touch. We all believe there are certain regulations that are important. But, this administration is putting an awful heavy hand of regulation on the economy and I think it has adverse impacts and consequences. And I think high energy prices are one of those.
There’s no question that their policies have led to an increase in energy prices because they know they worked to reduce supply, and put all their eggs in one basket.