U.S. financial stability group discusses debt ceiling, shutdown

Reuters

By Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - U.S. financial regulatorsdiscussed the federal debt ceiling and the effect of thegovernment shutdown on market monitoring during a phoneconversation on Tuesday, a Treasury Department spokesman said.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council might meet againas Oct. 17 approaches. That is the date on which Treasuryexpects to exhaust its borrowing authority, spokesman AnthonyColey said in a statement.

The council, a group of regulators led by Treasury SecretaryJack Lew, is charged with overseeing financial system stability.

The U.S. Congress has so far failed to strike a deal toraise the government's borrowing cap. Treasury officials havesaid hitting that limit and defaulting on government obligationscould cause lasting damage to the United States' internationalreputation.

The group also discussed the effect of the week-old federalgovernment shutdown on market monitoring by the CommodityFutures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities andExchange Commission (SEC).

Most financial regulators are not funded by Congress and sohave not been affected by the shutdown that began on Oct. 1. TheCFTC and SEC do get funding from congressional appropriations.

The SEC had enough funds on hand to stay open for a fewweeks, the agency said last week.

But the CFTC had to send most of its employees home. Thatmeans hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives arechanging hands on Wall Street without government supervision, aCFTC commissioner said on Tuesday.

"The cops aren't on the beat looking at the derivativesmarkets in the United States," Commissioner Bart Chilton said ina television interview.

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