The House Appropriations Committee approved Wednesday a bill to give the Securities and Exchange Commission $1.4 billion in fiscal 2015 — $50 million more than the agency’s fiscal 2014 enacted level but $300 million less than the amount requested by President Barack Obama.
The SEC budget boost under the FY 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill is “targeted specifically toward critical information technology initiatives” for the agency.
Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., tried to insert an amendment into the bill during the Wednesday markup to give the SEC the Obama administration’s funding request of $350 million, the same amount approved by voice vote by the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and General Government on Tuesday, arguing the agency would be “severely underfunded” at $1.4 billion.
Serrano argued during the markup that if Congress “keeps asking the SEC to do more with less, then we should not be surprised if we experience another financial crisis.”
But Serrano’s amendment was defeated by a 22-28 vote.
Indeed, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., argued that not “adequately funding” the SEC could put “mom-and-pop investors and our entire economy at risk.” She went on to note the fact that the SEC only examined 9% of investment advisors last year, and that the number of advisors continues to climb.
SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White told lawmakers in late April that the SEC’s 2015 budget request of $1.7 billion “would permit the SEC to increase its examination coverage” for advisors. The $1.7 billion budget would allow the agency to add 316 staffers to the agency’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, with 240 of those examiners devoted solely to overseeing advisors.