House committee approves expedited SEC hiring process

The House Financial Services Committee Wednesday approved a bill streamlining Securities and Exchange Commission procedures for hiring accountants, economists and examiners.

The legislation (H.R. 658) is aimed at addressing an upcoming staffing crisis and to allow the agency to better scrutinize corporations in the wake of business scandals involving the Enron Corp. and other firms.

The committee passed the bill, which would exempt the SEC from civil service hiring requirements, by voice vote after defeating an amendment offered by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., that would sunset the legislation in 2008.

Kanjorski argued that Congress should have a chance to revisit its decision to grant the SEC expedited hiring authority, but Republicans argued that it would unnecessarily complicate the agency's efforts to improve its oversight.

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