Senate approves spending increases for top regulators

Jerry Moran

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved major funding increases for America’s top main-market regulators on Thursday, a move that is likely to embitter Republicans who have sought to rein in spending and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

The committee’s spending package, which was approved in a 16-14 vote, provides a budget increase to both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The CFTC is set to receive an extra $103 million for the 2013 fiscal year, while the SEC will receive an increase of $245 million, Reuters reports.

Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC and CFTC are given the authority to jointly supervise and oversee the $708 trillion derivatives market. Congressional Republicans, however, have accused CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler of extending the agency’s authority beyond the scope of law and have criticized the CFTC for poor oversight of MF Global Holdings before its collapse.

“They are trying to do their job, but they are finding it hard because some people would rather just not give them any money,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chair of the SEC and CFTC subcommittee to oversee funding, said, adding that Republicans are trying to starve the CFTC of funding, according to Reuters.

Some Republicans charge that the CFTC’s funding has been an issue to take pressure off of the agency for its slow implementation of Dodd-Frank reforms. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the ranking member of the appropriations panel responsible for CFTC funding, opposed the spending increases.

“I strongly believe Chairman Gensler has failed to prioritize rule-making under Dodd-Frank,” Moran said, adding that he has been “rebuffed” by Gensler during several attempts to modify CFTC policy, Reuters reports. “My meetings with him personally have met with no success.”

Earlier this month, the two House appropriations subcommittees with jurisdiction over the CFTC and SEC budgets came together with differing visions for spending in the 2013 fiscal year.

While the CFTC would take a 12 percent reduction in its budget under the House plan, the SEC would get a $50 million boost in funding, though the SEC would be required to put $50 million toward information technology projects, according to Reuters.

The SEC, unlike the CFTC, has been able to stave off funding reductions, as the agency’s budget does not contribute to the U.S. deficit and its budget is offset by industry transaction fees.

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