Gary Gensler, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, fended off criticism on Tuesday from Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee that he had pushed through new securities rules — including those concerning climate change — without giving sufficient time for public comment or analyses of economic impact.
At a hearing of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs regarding oversight of the S.E.C., Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, said the commission was proposing rules and regulations at “a breakneck pace.” Mr. Scott, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president in the 2024 election, said the commission did not always give businesses and investors sufficient time to “digest complex rule changes” and fully respond.
Senator Katie Britt, Republican of Alabama, said some of the rules the S.E.C. had proposed were “half-baked” and were not intended to address a “market failure” like the financial crisis of 2008.
Some of the proposed rules that senators singled out concerned climate change disclosures by public companies and regulating the use of predictive analytical programs, like artificial intelligence, by investment advisers.
Mr. Gensler said that the S.E.C. was enacting new rules at a pace slower than some of his predecessors, and that it was soliciting comments from the public for 70 days on average. He also said the S.E.C. had reopened the comment period on 18 proposed rules to allow for additional public input. A rule governing climate change disclosures has been delayed, Mr. Gensler said, partly because the S.E.C. has had to take into consideration numerous comments about the challenges companies face when calculating the climate impact of suppliers of goods and services.
“We’re updating our rules to promote the efficiency, integrity and resiliency of the markets,” said Mr. Gensler, who appeared before the committee for about two hours. To date, the S.E.C. has adopted 22 new rules, he said.
In response to questions about digital assets, Mr. Gensler said the cryptocurrency market faced “significant noncompliance” and was “rife for fraud.”
The most heated moment of the hearing came when Senator J.D. Vance, Republican of Ohio, accused Mr. Gensler of being politically motivated in opening an investigation into the special purpose acquisition company that has a pending deal to merge with the parent company of Truth Social, the social media platform founded by former President Donald J. Trump.
“Have you ever spoken to anyone at the White House about your investigation of Donald Trump’s Truth Social?” Mr. Vance asked Mr. Gensler.
Mr. Gensler said that he had not talked to anyone in the White House about an S.E.C. investigation. He added that the investigation did not focus on Mr. Trump’s company but Digital World Acquisition Corp., the SPAC. In July, the S.E.C. announced a settlement with Digital World.