Senators Urge 'Caution' in Letter to SEC Chairman

Several members of the Securities Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs are urging Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt to extend the comment period on the non-audit services portion of the proposed rules on auditor independence until after February 1, 2001.

The extension, if granted, "will allow for careful analysis of the proposed changes," according to the letter. The letter was signed by Securities Subcommittee Chairman Senator Rod Grams, and Senators Evan Bayh, Phil Gramm, Charles E. Schumer, Mike Crapo, Robert F. Bennett, Wayne Allard, Jim Bunning, Chuck Hagel, and Rick Santorum.

The fundamental concern expressed by the committee members is the wide disparity between the impact of the proposed rules as described by the SEC as opposed to the impact described by members of the accounting profession. "At a time when our accounting standards will require significant modernization if they are to reflect value in today's economy, it is axiomatic that the accounting profession must retain the capacity to respond to these changes."

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