“Even as lawmakers celebrate passing the first bipartisan national budget and appropriations bill in four years, public interest advocates are expressing significant concern over Congress’s decision to fund two key financial regulators at levels well below what had been requested.
“The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are two of the most central regulatory agencies tasked with putting in place strict new regulations on Wall Street. They are also responsible for guarding against the possibility of another major economic meltdown similar to what took place in 2007-08, the ramifications of which continue to be felt today.
“Yet the SEC and CFTC are also the only two major financial regulators that are dependent on Congress for their annual funding, a set of reins that analysts say lawmakers are keen to keep. Indeed, while the SEC has backup funds that it can access if necessary, theCFTC has no such contingency monies at all. Nonetheless, appropriations levels for the two agencies approved this week came in well below what President Barack Obama had requested.
“The CFTC, meanwhile, will receive just $215 million for this year. While that constitutes the agency’s first budget increase since 2011, it’s still $100 million less than requested. Critics say this latter funding deficit, a cut of nearly a third, will be particularly problematic.
“’The SEC and CFTC are the frontline cops on the Wall Street beat, charged with protecting the American people and preventing another financial crash,’ Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a public interest group pushing financial reform, told MintPress.
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