SEC gets big funding boost in Obama budget proposal, setting up battle with Republicans


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President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget includes a 28% increase in funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission, setting up a showdown with Republicans who want to slash the agency’s spending.

While the $3.73-trillion budget the White House released Monday is down $90 billion from last year’s proposed budget, Obama wants to increase spending for the SEC as the agency moves to implement dozens of new regulations as part of the financial overhaul law as well as police the markets.


Obama proposed $1.43 billion for the SEC next year, an increase of $316 million from what it spent in 2010, exempting the agency from his proposed five-year freeze on discretionary spending not related to national security.

Congress never approved Obama’s 2011 budget, instead extending funding temporarily throughout the year, forcing most agencies to operate at 2010 levels.

SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro this month criticized the budget situation, saying her agency doesn’t have enough money to do its job properly.

House Republican leaders, who opposed the financial overhaul that gives the SEC greater authority, have called for cutting the agency’s budget further. As part of $100 billion in cuts to the ongoing 2011 fiscal year budget, House Republicans on Friday proposed slicing an additional $25 million from the SEC this year.

Obama’s proposed 2012 budget also calls for an 82% increase in funding for the smaller Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to $308 million, to deal with the agency’s ‘rapid expansion’ in authority in dealing with new regulation of complex financial derivatives as part of the overhaul.

While many congressional Republicans also have opposed the increased oversight of derivatives, they have not identified any proposed cuts in the CFTC’s budget.


-- Jim Puzzanghera

[For the record, 10:52 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said House Republicans on Friday proposed slicing an additional $25 billion, rather than $25 million, from the SEC.]