Rostin Behnam, Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, strongly condemned last week’s decision by Congress to reduce the 2018 agency budget US $1 million from 2017 levels to US $249 million. According to Mr. Behnam, “[t]he recently released congressional budget… unimaginably cuts the [CFTC’s] funding level, leaving our nation’s critically important derivatives market and general public increasingly vulnerable to systemic (and other) risk, and susceptible to fraud and manipulation.” The CFTC had requested a budget of US $281.5 million. By comparison, the Securities and Exchange Commission received a US $1.652 billion allocation for 2018, a US $47 million increase over its 2017 funding level.
My View: Congress’s decision to decrease funding for the CFTC at a time of increased demand for the Commission’s expertise, surveillance and enforcement activity is, in a word, sad. Staff and leadership of the Commission, not to mention the American public, including merchants and producers, who rely on safe and efficient commodity markets, deserve better. Congress’s action is not only a slap in the face of the very capable and dedicated CFTC team, but another example of the dysfunction so manifest on Capitol Hill these days.