Saturday, July 27, 2013

Senate Appropriations Committee approves legislation fully funding the SEC and CFTC

The full Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the fiscal year 2014 Financial Services and General Government bill fully funding the SEC and CFTC at the requested levels by a vote of 16-14. The measure will now be reported to the full Senate for its consideration. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chair of the Appropriations Committee, said that the financial services bill important to protecting consumers from unfair practices and unsafe products. She noted that these agencies work to keep the financial markets honest and fair in order to ensure that investors are not victims of scams or schemes. They fight scammers aiming to defraud persons of their hard earned savings. The Appropriations Committee approved report language, authored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide a full annual briefing to the relevant Appropriations subcommittee on the Bureau's finances and expenditures. The amendment was approved by the Committee with a voice vote.

The Committee noted that farmers and businesses that use the futures markets to manage risk, as well as pensions and endowments, rely on the CFTC to properly monitor the markets to guard against fraud, manipulation, or systemic risk. Bringing more transparency and accountability to the futures and derivatives markets is crucial. The bill provides $315 million for the CFTC. This funding level is $110 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level of $205 million. The Committee believes that these resources will ensure that needed staffing and sophisticated technology are in place to foster open, competitive, and financially sound futures and swaps markets.

With regard to SEC funding, the Committee noted that the strength of the economy and the soundness of the financial markets depend upon investor confidence in the financial disclosures and statements released by publicly traded companies for which SEC oversight is indispensable. The bill includes $1.674 billion to help the SEC fulfill its mandate to protect investors, maintain fair, honest, and efficient stock and securities markets, and promote capital formation. This funding level is $353 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and is fully offset by fees collected on transactions.