On December 3, 2008 the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved rule amendments to provide greater oversight and regulation of credit rating agencies. The amendments were passed to strengthen the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006 [PDF]. The regulations were passed because of the credit rating agencies' failures regarding the sub-prime mortgages that contributed to the August 2008 financial crisis. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox called for such increased oversight and regulation of financial institutions during his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in October 2008. That same month, the SEC began actively investigating regulation of the US financial industry, pursuant to the passage of the $700 billion financial rescue package that became law on October 3, 2008.