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June 9 — The Securities and Exchange Commission would get a $50 million budget cut for fiscal year 2017, under a spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee.
The financial services appropriations bill would fund the agency at $1.555 billion, down from the $1.605 billion level enacted in 2016 and well below the $1.78 billion the agency and White House requested.
An attempt by committee Democrats to match the White House's funding request was rejected during the June 9 markup. The full bill was approved 30-17, along party lines.
Commentary during the markup fractured along a predictable partisan divide—Republicans supported the funding decrease but Democrats called for more.
“This bill is a measured approach to the SEC,” Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), who sponsored it, said. The agency is “certainly not starved for dollars.”
He also praised SEC Chairman Mary Jo White for “moving the SEC in the right direction.”
The cut to the agency's budget “would thwart its ability to protect investors,” Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), ranking Democrat on the committee, said. “This is particularly egregious because the SEC is fee-funded and meeting the commission’s needs would not cost taxpayers a dime.”
The lower funding level “would seriously harm our ability to monitor the markets and protect investors against fraudsters,” an SEC representative told Bloomberg BNA in May (101 SLD, 5/25/16).
The measure additionally would prevent the SEC from taking any action on a rule requiring public companies to disclose their political spending.
It would also create an Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation and a Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee at the agency.
The financial services appropriations bill would fund the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Communications Commission and other agencies.
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