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February 26, 2015

Budget sharpens focus on regulating Wall Street

“President Obama is backing up his tough words for the financial sector with beefed-up budget requests for the government agencies that regulate Wall Street.

“The president’s fiscal 2016 budget request includes his highest-ever funding requests for a pair of financial regulators. And he wants to help cover those costs and others in his budget by imposing a new fee on the nation’s largest financial institutions that is also aimed at curbing risky activity.

“The president’s budget calls for $1.7 billion to fund the Securities and Exchange Commission, and $322 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Those increases would be boosts of 15 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

“Those funding levels are the highest requests yet from Obama — he also requested $1.7 billion for the SEC in fiscal 2015.

“The CFTC is currently operating under a $215 million budget, and the agency officials have regularly complained to Congress about their funding limits. The small regulator was handed broad new powers as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, charged with overseeing the multitrillion-dollar derivatives marketplace.

“The president has regularly called for higher funding levels for financial regulators in his budgets, but the 2016 plan marks a return to form somewhat. After years of being stymied by GOP lawmakers, Obama actually reduced his request for the CFTC in his fiscal 2015 budget request. After asking for $315 million in fiscal 2014, he stepped down his request for that agency to $280 million in fiscal 2015.”

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Read the full “the Hill” article by Peter Schroeder here.

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