How important was the fund scandal in the halls of the Capital Building last week? Apparently while it is important enough to hold hearings, it is not important enough to pry open the nation's coffers.
You see, Congress is planning to whack $30 million of the SEC's for 2004.
Republican leadership in the House added amendments to the 2004 budget bill on Wednesday before they broke for the Thanksgiving recess that would cut some $3 billion in spending when the legislation is passed. Among the cuts was the $30 million slice from the SEC. Among the other programs cut included the AIDS program for Africa President Bush highlighted in his State of the Union Address, housing subsidies and child care subsidies.
The cuts at the SEC are a response to the Commission's inability to spend all of its 2003 appropriation according to a report in the Washington Post on Monday.
The SEC received a large increase in its budget after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation last year that greatly increased its oversight duties. However, it was unable to spend the entire allocation as it focused on beefing up its staff during the course of the year.
Currently, the cop on the fund beat has roughly 150 members in its enforcement division. It reportedly hopes to expand that to 200.
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