Back in March 2014, President Barack Obama proposed a fiscal year 2015 budget of $1.7 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission--a 26% increase over the agency's FY 2014 budget. SEC Chair White testified shortly thereafter before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations that after receiving just a 2% budget increase in FY 2014, a meaningful increase over the FY 2014 budget of $1.35 billion was critical for the agency. Chair White explained that the requested $1.7 billion would allow the SEC to hire an additional 639 staff (including 126 new Enforcement staff) and enhance its information technology.
Alas, as has become the typical pattern in recent years, the House of Representatives showed last week that it has no intention of funding the agency at the levels requested by President Obama. Rather, the WSJ reports that appropriations bill approved by the House last week largely along party lines would fund the SEC at $1.4 billion in FY 2015--an increase of less than 4% over FY 2014 and $300 million less than the budget requested by President Obama.
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R., Fla.) was quoted as saying that "the SEC is not starved for money, and throwing more money at them will not make them a better regulator." Chair White disagreed, stating
I have deep concerns that the level of funding under the House Appropriations bill will harm America’s investors by forcing the agency to limit its enforcement, examination and regulatory activities precisely at a time that the SEC should be building additional expertise and developing new technologies to better oversee our rapidly changing markets. And, it is important to keep in mind that the SEC’s budget request neither increases the deficit nor takes resources away from other federal priorities.
The Senate would also need to approve the House's appropriations bill, which the WSJ says is unlikely. If no appropriations bill is passed by Congress by September 30 then a stopgap spending bill funding the SEC at its FY 2014 levels is expected.