Republican: Obama 'caving to political extremes' with budget request

A top House Republican appropriator on Wednesday blasted the Obama administration as "caving to political extremes" with its request to boost the funding of a Wall Street regulator.

President Obama has asked Congress to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) $322 million for fiscal 2016, a nearly 50 percent increase from the $215 million it is receiving now. A funding increase of that size would nearly triple the amount of money the agency received in 2008, when the financial crisis hit.


Rep. Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtLobbying World House advances B agriculture bill Dems advance bill defying Trump State Department cuts MORE (R-Ala.), who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees CFTC funding, said at a hearing Wednesday he'd recommend the agency's budget stay at its current level.

"I am concerned hat this administration is caving to the political extremes," Aderholt said. "In Washington, we call this 'moving the goal posts.' "

CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad told lawmakers the additional funds would help his agency better police the nation's financial sector and prevent threats to economy.

"The CFTC’s budget is not at a level that is commensurate with the responsibilities Congress has assigned," Massad said.

CFTC's spending has increased 123 percent since the 2008 financial crisis, Aderholt noted.

"I challenge the CFTC to show where this increase in taxpayer money has reduced risk in the marketplace," Aderholt said. "How do we know that even more cops on the beat will prevent another 'too big to fail?' I see no direct correlation between CFTC’s repeated increases and reduced risk."

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law boosted the CFTC's responsibilities, giving the agency expanded jurisdiction over the nation's $400 trillion swaps market, trades that played a role in the 2008 crash.

Massad said his agency is struggling to keep up with its new responsibilities and needs money for technology, staff and for dealing with emerging cyber threats.

"Trading is increasingly conducted in an automated, electronic fashion and cybersecurity has become a major new threat to the integrity and smooth functioning of the critical market infrastructure that the commission regulates," Massad testified.

He said that the agency's "capabilities have not kept pace" on cybersecurity issues.