If only Democrats would act with the single-minded determination the Republicans do in pursuit of their goals. (That would mean, of course, that Democrats actually had a goal beyond getting reelected.) I’ll give the Republicans this: they don’t screw around. They hit Washington and they went straight to work. It didn’t matter to them that they only held one house of Congress. Democrats with the Senate, the House and the White House were no where near this single-minded. This is just one more example.
The Republican-led House of Representatives is poised to pass, as early as Wednesday, a sweeping spending bill that would slash funding for the regulatory agency responsible for policing against excessive speculation and price manipulation in oil markets.
House members are expected to approve an agriculture spending bill that would deeply cut the annual bill that funds the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates trading in oil, grains and other commodities.
They slash funding for regulation so their pals can do whatever they want, and when it comes back to bite the rest of us in the butt, they can lay it all at Obama’s feet.
The House bill would provide $171.9 million for the agency, a decrease of about $30 million from the $202.2 million given to the agency the prior year.
The Obama administration requested more than $300 million for the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, a steep increase because the CFTC gained sweeping new powers under last year’s broad revamp of financial regulation_ short-handed as the Dodd-Frank Act.
This is what the Republicans said they would do. Pass all the laws you want Democrats. We just aren’t going to pay to implement them!
Among those powers is regulating, for the first time, the complex over-the-counter market, where private parties enter into secret bets, called swaps, on movements in the price of oil and other commodities. These so-called dark markets are seven times as large as the regulated futures market, where contracts for future delivery of oil are traded. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler says he now oversees seven times as much territory as the CFTC did before Dodd-Frank and must have a bigger budget to protect the public from market fraud and manipulation.
Got that? Not only did the CFTC not get the money they needed to do their greatly expanded job, they’re getting even less money than they had before the law was passed.
The CFTC has greater support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The expected cut by House comes against the backdrop of recent volatility in oil markets that drove the price of the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude to above $113 a barrel in May.
Oil prices are now hovering just below $100 a barrel, even as the United States and other developing nations are seeing weak demand for oil because of sluggish economies. This price volatility happened during a period when financial investors reversed a longstanding trend and now make up to 88 percent of all oil trades, pushing end users of oil to the sidelines.
And when gas prices go up, who are the Republicans going to blame? Why, Obama and the Democrats, of course. Like I said. A two-fer.