The House of Representatives tried to head off, or at least limit, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) proposal to require expensing of employee stock options, but so far the Senate doesn’t seem ready to cooperate. Despite the 312-to-111 House vote for a bill to limit the expensing requirement to options for a company’s top five executives until a study of the economic impact is completed, observers say the Senate is not even likely to take up the issue. Too many senators, including Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), head of the Senate Banking Committee, oppose it. “Shelby being head of the committee has a tremendous amount of power,” says Ken Kies, managing director of the federal policy group at Clark Consulting. The Senate is also short on time, even if it reconvenes after the election.
Of course, if the FASB postpones the effective date for the requirement, currently set for yearend, as it suggested it might, Congress would have more time to figure out a way to thwart it.