The $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled by the U.S. House of
Representatives and Senate would allot the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission $1.35 billion for the fiscal year ending
September 30, 2014, a figure the agency said "falls far short of
what we need to fulfill our responsibilities."
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would get $215 million for
the remainder of the fiscal year.
Both budget numbers are well below the funding levels requested by
President Barack Obama, and represent very small increases to their
current spending levels, despite the new responsibilities each have
taken on after the financial crisis.
Since March 2013, all U.S. federal agencies have been operating
under tighter spending after across-the-board cuts known as
"sequestration" automatically kicked in.
As a result of sequestration, the SEC's fiscal year 2013
appropriation of $1.321 billion was slashed by $66 million to $1.255
billion, and the CFTC's $205 million budget was cut to $194.6
The CFTC's cut was so significant that recently departed CFTC
Chairman Gary Gensler last October said the agency would be forced
to furlough workers.
The SEC was not forced to impose furloughs, but it has since cut
back on hiring and travel in the wake of the cuts.
SEC spokesman John Nester said the proposed funding level "will
limit our ability to bolster our enforcement and examinations
programs, implement our new duties regarding derivatives, private
fund advisers and municipal advisers, and invest in critical
technology for market oversight and law enforcement.
"It is particularly frustrating considering that funding for the SEC
does not contribute to the federal deficit," Nester said in a
Of the SEC's new $1.35 billion spending level unveiled in Monday's
bill, $44 million would still need to be earmarked for the agency's
division that is in charge of conducting economic analyses for its
Problems with the quality of its cost-benefit analyses have tripped
up the SEC in the past, leading it to lose several court challenges
to its rules filed by industry groups.
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Non-profit groups who lobby for strict regulations for Wall Street
lashed out at Congress, saying the spending bill woefully underfunds
the two agencies at a time when they need more resources to
implement the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.
The law empowered the SEC and CFTC to take on new responsibilities
in the wake of the financial crisis, such as overseeing
"It is shameful that Wall Street's allies in Congress have again
failed to fund the very agencies that are charged with protecting
Main Street and preventing another financial crisis," said Dennis
Kelleher, the president of Better Markets.
"This sets the agencies up to fail by asking them to do much more
than their budgets will allow."
But the CFTC's acting chairman, Mark Wetjen, said he was pleased at
the increase Congress proposes to give his agency, saying, "This
funding level is a step in the right direction, and we will continue
working with Congress to secure resources that match our new
responsibilities to provide oversight for the vast derivatives
The $1.1 trillion spending bill will help prevent another government
Before that can be passed, lawmakers need to first pass a three-day
stop-gap funding bill ahead of a Wednesday deadline for new spending
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by
Chris Reese, Peter Cooney and Eric Walsh)
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