SEC, CFTC Funding Flat in Senate Bill

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By Richard Hill

June 15 — Funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would remain flat in fiscal year 2017 under a bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee.

The SEC would receive $1.605 billion and the CFTC $250 million under the bill advanced June 15 by the panel.

The proposed SEC funding is approximately 10 percent below the $1.78 billion that the White House asked for the agency in February (27 SLD, 2/10/16). It would target economic analysis and information technology initiatives, according to a committee fact sheet.

The CFTC would receive $80 million less than what the administration requested (27 SLD, 2/10/16).

The funding measure represents the subcommittee's commitment to protecting taxpayer money, panel Chairman John Boozman (R-Ark.) said. Ranking member Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he was “profoundly disappointed” in the SEC and CFTC funding proposals. The amounts “fall far below necessary levels,” he said.

Next Vote June 16

The full Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on the bill, which also contains funding for the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Communications Commission, Small Business Administration and numerous other entities, June 16.

Coons said fewer resources would impact the SEC's ability to enforce the federal securities laws, protect markets and promote capital formation. Flat-funding the CFTC would impact its ability to oversee futures and swaps markets, Coons said.

The agency repeatedly has said it can't complete its oversight mission on $250 million, and that it needs more funds to hire additional staff.

Key Republican lawmakers have asked appropriators not to give the CFTC any extra funding until it is reauthorized (146 SLD, 7/30/15). Although the Senate Agriculture Committee has approved a reauthorization bill (73 SLD, 4/15/16), the measure probably won't be passed before the spending measure is finalized. The House passed a CFTC reauthorization bill in 2015 (111 SLD, 6/10/15).

The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill earlier this month that would cut $50 million from the SEC's budget and fund it at $1.555 billion in FY 2017 (112 SLD, 6/10/16). House and Senate appropriators often try to meet in the middle when there is a discrepancy in proposed funding. House appropriators approved $250 million for the CFTC in April (72 SLD, 4/14/16).

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