Spending Bill Would Boost SEC Budget, Trim CFTC Funding

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Andrew Ramonas Washington Reporter Seth Stern Washington

By Andrew Ramonas

The SEC would get $47 million more in funding this year, while the CFTC would see its budget drop by $1 million, under the omnibus spending bill the House approved March 22.

The fiscal 2018 spending legislation, which lawmakers sent to the Senate on a 256-167 vote, would give $1.652 billion to the Securities and Exchange Commission and $249 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Last year, the SEC received $1.605 billion and the CFTC got $250 million in the budgets Congress approved for them.

CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo asked for $281.5 million for fiscal 2018 to support the agency’s role overseeing the markets for derivatives, including swaps and Bitcoin futures. The commission was “absolutely astounded” by the drop in funding, CFTC spokeswoman Erica Elliott Richardson told Bloomberg Law in an email.

“Our chairman and the commission have been repeatedly publicly praised by members of Congress and others for our work as an efficient and effective agency,” she said. “And yet shockingly, these priorities that frequently received lip service ultimately did not receive budgetary support. Chairman Giancarlo takes this budget decrease incredibly personally, and is currently meeting with our finance team to figure out a path forward for the agency.”

Trump’s Funding Plan

The bill’s proposed CFTC funding level was only $1 million less than the $250 million President Donald Trump requested for this year. The CFTC, as an independent agency, can submit a funding proposal that differs from the president’s request.

The bill’s drafters, however, decided to add $50 million to the $1.602 billion Trump and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton sought for the agency. The legislation would designate $45 million of the SEC’s budget for technology initiatives.

The bill also would require the Office of Management and Budget to send Congress a report that details the costs of implementing the Dodd-Frank Act and would bar the SEC from adopting any rule that would require companies to disclose political contributions.

An SEC spokeswoman declined to comment.

The agencies have been operating under a series of short-term spending measures that have kept the government open since October, when fiscal 2018 began. The bill or another temporary spending measure must pass the House and the Senate before the end of the day March 23 to avoid a government shutdown.

FY 2019 Budget Requests

Lawmakers’ work on the legislation comes as they are starting to review the fiscal 2019 budget plans for the SEC, CFTC, and other agencies.

Trump sought $1.658 billion for the SEC and $281.5 million for the CFTC in his fiscal 2019 request. Both commissions agreed with the sums he sought this time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Ramonas in Washington at aramonas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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