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House panel plans 15 pct cut for CFTC budget

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. futures regulator faces a 15 percent cut in funding under a plan unveiled by House of Representatives lawmakers on Monday, far less than the agency says it needs to carry out a new financial reform law.

A House Appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to vote on the cut for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday as part of an overall fiscal 2012 funding bill for the Agriculture Department and related agencies.

The CFTC declined to comment on the proposal.

In February, the White House requested $308 million for the agency to expand its staff and buy equipment. The CFTC was given $202 million for this fiscal year, which ends on September 30, and would get $172 million for fiscal 2012.

Subcommittee chairman Bob Kingston said the funding bill fulfilled the House Republican goal of lower spending while ensuring the CFTC and other federal agencies "are provided the necessary resources to fulfill their duties".

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted last summer, puts the CFTC in charge of regulating the vast over-the-counter market in derivatives. The CFTC has proposed four dozen rules to implement the law but says it will miss the initial deadline to put them into effect.

House Republican leaders have proposed an 18-month delay in implementing the law. They say it will prevent errors in hasty rule-writing. Opponents say the financial meltdown of 2008 shows the need for prompt regulation.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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