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Democratic Amendment Seeks to Prevent Layoffs at CFTC

Waters, DeLauro and Himes lead effort to protect consumers and the economy

As the House of Representatives considers a funding bill for the nation’s agriculture programs, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) took a strong stand against Republican efforts to weaken the important role of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in protecting American consumers and the economy itself. 

The Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee and Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) joined  Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who offered an amendment that would halt Republican efforts to restrict funding in ways that would undercut the Commission’s work policing Wall Street’s most risky actors.

Specifically, the appropriations bill effectively cuts resources for examiners, enforcers and other employees by directing a significant portion of funding for use on Information Technology (IT). This provision, combined with underfunding at a level 22 percent below the Administration’s request, would likely result is furloughs and layoffs at the CFTC. 

The amendment restores funding for these critical personnel. It does not cut the CFTC’s total funding or its IT budget, rather provides the same flexibility given in years past. Unfortunately, Republican rules prevent amendments calling for funding increases without harming other programs.

For years, Republicans have attempted to undermine the CFTC’s important role in our financial system. This measure is just the latest chapter, targeting the Commission’s ability to provide guidance to investors and businesses, examine companies entrusted with the funds of everyday Americans, punishing bad actors and returning funds to wronged customers, among many other responsibilities.

On the House floor, Waters made the following statement:

“I urge support for this amendment to ensure our derivatives cop can protect our financial markets and economy. Make no mistake, even with this amendment, inadequate Republican funding for the CFTC furthers a larger effort to undermine the oversight of derivatives. While more funding is needed, this measure will at least prevent layoffs. 
The CFTC thwarts Wall Street from manipulating the price of things like oil, corn, and gold. Without it, every American will feel the pain at the pump and the dinner table. The CFTC enforces laws Democrats enacted to rein in companies like AIG – whose activities led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Despite overwhelming need, Republicans would undercut the CFTC under the guise of a modest IT increase – believing that if it just had the right computers, the CFTC could eliminate employees.  What they don’t understand is that it takes real people to bring about justice and accountability. 

With funding far below the requested amount, the CFTC cannot operate without temporarily closing or sacking valuable talent – causing immediate harm to our markets, with delays to agency guidance to investors and businesses; examinations of companies entrusted with your funds; punishment of bad actors; and recovery of victims’ money.

This is a continuation of an effort by Republicans and special interests to undercut laws and regulations that protect consumers. I am not going to stand for it, and urge you to support this amendment.”


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