Senate panel seeks budget boosts for SEC, CFTC

Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:16am EDT

* Senate appropriators unveil proposed SEC, CFTC budgets

* SEC would get a $222 million increase in FY 2012

* CFTC would receive a $37.7 million increase

* Budget plan is drastically higher than US House proposal

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - U.S. financial market regulators would get big boosts to their fiscal 2012 budgets to help them implement the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law under a bill released by the Senate Appropriations financial services subcommittee on Wednesday.

The bill would match a request by the Obama administration to give the Securities and Exchange Commission a fiscal 2012 budget of $1.407 billion, up $222 million from the agency's fiscal 2011 budget.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would receive $240 million, an increase of $37.7 million from its fiscal 2011 budget. The total falls a bit short of the original request by the president for a $308 million fiscal 2012 budget.

The Senate Appropriations financial services subcommittee is slated to approve the bill later on Wednesday, and pass it along to the full committee for a vote on Thursday.

"My top priority again this year is to continue to address the resource needs of two of our nation's premier financial regulatory agencies," the panel's chairman, Senator Richard Durbin, said in prepared remarks. "As a result of the historic enactment of the comprehensive Dodd-Frank Act last year, these two agencies acquired substantially expanded responsibilities."

The proposed budget increases for the two market regulators would come as the agencies rush to finish implementing more than 100 new regulations required by the Dodd-Frank law, which greatly expands their authority. The 2012 fiscal year begins on Oct 1.

The proposed funding boosts for the agencies face an uncertain future due to strong opposition from U.S. House Republicans who are unhappy with many provisions in Dodd-Frank and hope to stifle its implementation.

In June, the House Appropriations Committee refused the Obama administration's request for a bump in the SEC's funding to implement Dodd-Frank and voted to keep the agency's budget unchanged in fiscal 2012 at $1.185 billion. The bill has not yet been sent to the House floor for a vote.

The House Appropriations Committee also in May rebuffed the Obama administration's request to raise the CFTC's budget, voting instead to lower it to $171.9 million for fiscal 2012. The bill was approved by the full House in June.

Both the SEC and the CFTC have said they have the resources to complete the Dodd-Frank rule-writing process, but once it comes time to implement the law, they will need better technology and increased manpower.

The SEC has urged Congress to approve a budget increase, especially because a provision in Dodd-Frank allows the agency to be deficit neutral by offsetting congressional appropriations through the fees it charges the financial industry. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by Christopher Doering; editing by John Wallace)

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