WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Treasury has lost millions of dollars because of Congress' failure to approve full funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission for the current fiscal year, SEC chairman Arthur Levitt told two House panels yesterday.

His comments came as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, became the latest of several Senate Republicans to put a "hold" on legislation that would authorize the SEC to collect $192 million in users fees to fully fund the commission at $306 million for fiscal year 1995, which began last Saturday. The House passed the bill last week, but Hatch is reportedly trying to hold the bill hostage in the Senate until Congress attaches a measure to address tax problems of self-employed Americans.

Even if the Senate acts on the SEC bill before Congress adjourns this weekend, Levitt told two panels of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, "the loss to the Treasury will be almost $10 million." SEC officials said that does not include money that would have been gained from enforcement activities that have been stopped.

Levitt, who has already halted all nonessential services and spending by the commission, said that if Congress does not take action on the SEC bill tomorrow, the SEC will have to implement a series of cuts to reduce monthly expenditures by 80% beginning next Tuesday.

By mid-November, he said, the SEC would have to furlough all non-political appointees for all but two days a week.

Levitt told House panel members that "the political process has lost sight of" the importance of protecting the investor and the commission's 27,000 employees. He said the SEC staff comprises "overworked, underpaid, dedicated loyal servants" who "are needlessly being taken advantage of." He was testifying before the committee's telecommunications and finance panel. and its oversight panel.

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