Rulemaking To Suffer In Extended Shutdown

Oct 2 2013 | 12:51pm ET

U.S. regulators may be only minimally-impacted by the federal government shutdown—for now—but some areas are likely to be affected it the stalemate in Washington continues.

Only two federal regulators—the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission—depend on Congress for their budgets. The CFTC has already furloughed most of its employees, but the SEC said it can continue to operate at full strength for a couple of weeks without new appropriations.

The last government shutdown, in 1995, went on for three weeks, however, and there is no sign that Republicans in the House of Representatives are any closer to making a deal with the Senate and White House than before the shutdown began on Tuesday morning. If this shutdown lasts as long, it will force the SEC to go the way of the CFTC in furloughing most of its staff.

Such a move would stop the review of all applications to register shares, freezing initial public offerings and new fund launches. It will also mean that the backlog in rule-writing—already affected by the CFTC shutdown—would get worse.

Among the potential victims are rules on asset-backed securities the SEC is set to release. The CFTC last week raced to approve new swaps-trading platforms ahead of the shutdown.

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