* Senate panel agrees to funding boosts for SEC, CFTC
* SEC and CFTC would see budget rise by about 19% in FY12
* Republicans express concerns about CFTC funding
(Adds details from House Financial Services hearing and a
comment from SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro)
By Christopher Doering and Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, Sept 15 U.S. securities and futures
regulators will see large budget increases to help them
implement sweeping new financial regulations under a bill
approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
The plan, which will now go to the full U.S. Senate for a
vote, would give the Securities and Exchange Commission a
fiscal 2012 budget of $1.407 billion, an increase of roughly 19
percent from its current fiscal 2011 budget of $1.185 billion.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would also see an
estimated 19 percent increase in its funding, jumping from $202
million to $240 million for fiscal 2012, which starts on Oct.
"When it comes to the SEC and CFTC, they maintain the
integrity of major markets in the United States and other
countries," said Sen. Richard Durbin, who chairs the Senate
Appropriations subcommittee that funds the two agencies.
The budget boosts would help the SEC and CFTC undertake the
major new responsibilities they have inherited under the
Dodd-Frank Wall Street overhaul law, which was enacted last
That law splits oversight of the nearly $600 trillion
over-the-counter derivatives market between the two regulators,
and also gives the SEC greater authority to police hedge funds,
credit-rating agencies and municipal advisers.
The fate of funding for the two agencies, however, remains
House Republicans who are worried about major Dodd-Frank
provisions have generally opposed bolstering the budgets for
the SEC and CFTC. Earlier this year, the House passed a bill
that would cut the CFTC's budget down to $171.9 million. House
appropriators also approved a measure to keep the SEC's funding
flat, although it has not faced a full House vote yet.
Some lawmakers have been reluctant to support the CFTC
funding boost because some feel its chairman, Gary Gensler, has
been "too aggressive" in how he has gone about implementing the
new derivatives rules.
"In my view the CFTC has failed to prioritize its
rulemaking under Dodd-Frank, proposing unnecessary
discretionary rulemaking that is not required by the act and
will increase the staffing and funding demands," said Jerry
Moran, the top Republican on the subcommittee that overseas the
SEC and CFTC.
The argument for a boost to the SEC's budget has been
somewhat easier, by contrast, in part because a provision in
Dodd-Frank will require the SEC to off-set the money Congress
appropriates with the fees it imposes on the firms it
Despite strong opposition from many House Republicans, one
key lawmaker earlier on Thursday signaled possible support for
an SEC budget boost, in a move that could help fuel future
House Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus, who
recently circulated a legislative proposal aimed at
restructuring the SEC, acknowledged that an "increase in
funding is probably necessary as part of the reform process."
Still, Bachus would like to see the reforms completed before
agreeing to any budget boost.
At a House Financial Services hearing on Thursday, SEC
Chairman Mary Schapiro assured lawmakers the agency is already
working toward improving its operations internally.
She urged the lawmakers to raise the SEC's budget, or else
the agency might not be able to bring cases due to litigation
costs or effectively examine clearinghouses for new derivatives
"That will result in a lack of oversight, and frankly,
uncertainty for the industry," she said.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Christopher Doering;
Editing by Gary Hill, Bernard Orr)