AFR in the News: Gov’t Shutdown Looms if ‘Mini-bus’ Isn’t Passed

Gov’t Shutdown Looms if ‘Mini-bus’ Isn’t Passed – Michelle Hirsch (The Fiscal Times)
November 17, 2011

“Even as the congressional Super Committee grapples with how to cut the 10-year deficit by another $1.2 trillion, a feisty tug-of-war is brewing on Capitol Hill over how to implement the $1 trillion in cuts enacted last August.  Clear winners and losers are emerging from the fray.  A bipartisan ‘mini-bus’ appropriations bill, which covers five key government agencies and could be voted on in the House later today, delivers blows to financial regulation, agricultural programs, the Census bureau, and state and local law enforcement. At the same time, it preserves or boosts spending for food safety and nutrition programs, scientific research, and the Federal Aviation Administration. … As expected, the mini-bus appropriations bill has drawn criticism from interest groups that support the agencies targeted for budget cuts. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, for instance, is being asked to swallow a near one-third cut relative to what the Obama administration requested. The agency, charged with safeguarding investors in their futures and commodities trades, had a fiscal 2011 budget of about $170 million which President Obama wanted to hike to $308 billion to help implement parts of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul legislation.  CFTC officials and Wall Street reform advocates say the $35 million increase to $205 million for the CFTCis grossly inadequate to carry out the job of writing new rules for over-the-counter derivatives, as well as probing deceptive practices at investment firms such as MF Global Holdings. “The Dodd-Frank Act assigned massive new markets to CFTC oversight, leading to a 600 percent increase in the size of the CFTC’s supervisory responsibilities,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “The funding level just advanced by the Conference Committee would barely allow the CFTC to expand its current oversight resources and would not permit the agency to implement its new responsibilities.” Click here for more.