Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, issued the following statement in response to false attacks on funding levels for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission:
"Some Members of Congress look at every issue as an opportunity to grow the government and hire more people. It's certainly not the path to economic recovery. It's also not the most effective way to ensure the integrity of the commodity, futures, and swaps markets. Our focus has been on effective regulation based on sufficient resources to monitor the volume of transactions and regulated entities, not the number of bureaucrats. Under Dodd-Frank there is only a .02% increase in the number of transactions CFTC will oversee, and the number of registered entities under its jurisdiction will increase by a mere .03%.
"Instead of more bodies, the CFTC is in desperate need for advanced surveillance monitoring technology capable of keeping pace with a market that trades 80% electronically. While our subcommittee has specifically directed $92 million over the past two years for the CFTC's "highest priority information technology activities," the Commission continues misapplying these funds for non-essential purposes. In the age of computers and the Internet, it is effectively funneling resources into pencil and paper.
"More to the point, the CFTC's budget has increased by 85% and staff levels have increased 53%since the financial crisis of 2008 while over the same period the price of gas has increased 126%. Obviously more money and employees do not bring down gas prices. That is a separate problem that should be addressed through other approaches such as increasing American energy production and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
"The criticism we're hearing strikes me more as political opportunism than a serious policy proposal. If the Democrats were really serious about their proposal to grow CFTC staffing, they would have offset their proposal to increase CFTC staffing to make it compliant with House rules. As it was offered, they know it would have brought the bill down on a point of order. In seeking to adopt the level set forth in the President's budget, they are wrapping themselves in a proposal that did not garner a single vote in the House or Senate.
"Finally, Chairman Gensler testified before our subcommittee in March of last year that $168 million would provide sufficient staff and resources to complete all Dodd-Frank rulemakings. Even though Congress exceeded that level last year, appropriating $205 million, the Commission is coming back to the trough asking for more.
"I have written Chairman Gensler continuing our dialogue about funding levels and asking that our discussion remain based on more relevant statistics which truly address risk and the protection and transparency of these derivative markets."