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Mr. HOLDEN. I thank the chairman for yielding.
I rise today in support of H.R. 4173.
I serve as chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research. As such, we have jurisdiction over the institutions of the Farm Credit System that serve agriculture as well as rural communities across the country.
Over 20 years ago, the Agriculture Committee put in place a revised legislative and regulatory regime for the Farm Credit System that has successfully stood the test of time in ensuring that these institutions operate safe and sound.
Farm Credit System institutions are regulated and examined by a fully empowered independent regulatory agency, the Farm Credit Administration, which has the authority to shut down and liquidate a system institution that is not financially viable. In addition, the Farm Credit System is the only GSE that has a self-funded insurance program in place that was established to not only protect investors in farm credit debt securities against loss of their principal and interest, but also to protect taxpayers.
These are just a few of the reasons why the Agriculture Committee insisted that the institutions of the Farm Credit System not be subject to a number of the provisions of this legislation. They were not the cause of the problem, did not utilize TARP funds, and did not engage in abusive subprime lending. We have believed that this legislation should not do anything to disrupt this record of success.
Mr. Speaker, I now would like to enter into a colloquy with the chairman of the Agriculture Committee.
Mr. Chairman, the conference report includes compromise language that requires the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to consider exempting small banks, Farm Credit System institutions and credit unions from provisions requiring that all swaps be cleared. We understand that community banks, Farm Credit institutions and credit unions did not cause the financial crisis that precipitated this legislation. While the legislation places a special emphasis on institutions with less than $10 billion in assets, my reading of the language is that they should not in any way be viewed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a limit on the size of the institution that should be considered for an exemption.
Mr. Chairman, would you concur with this assessment?
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