Feb. 11, 2011  

House GOP Cuts at SEC and CFTC Promise Renewed Financial Crisis

Statement of Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

This weekend, the House Republicans are expected to propose deep cuts in the budgets for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This is a huge mistake.

The SEC and CFTC are dependent on the appropriations process for their funding. The budget must provide the resources they need to prevent another Wall Street crash.

If the United States is willing to equip our military to protect us from foreign enemies, then we should be willing to pay for the 3,800 staff working for the SEC who enforce our laws and protect us from Wall Street exploitation. In contrast, the military budget includes funding for 4,600 musicians in the U.S. Army bands.

The public overwhelmingly supports the newly enacted Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. However, it hasn’t even been fully enacted and already bank lobbyists are swarming agencies to emasculate new implementing rules.

To ensure they prevail, House Republicans are attempting to eviscerate the SEC and CFTC budgets.

They can’t claim their efforts will help balance the federal budget. The SEC generates more in fees than Congress appropriates for the SEC to operate. Failure to prevent the next financial bailout through strong SEC enforcement will only add to the federal deficit.

With average Americans struggling with record unemployment and foreclosures, what we can’t afford is another Wall Street bender.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.