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Small Business Credit Availability Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CONAWAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3336, the Small Business Credit Availability Act.

Today's bill makes several narrow changes to the law which will further clarify exactly how Congress intended for the CFTC to implement the new swap dealer registration requirements under Dodd-Frank.

In the law, Congress authorized the CFTC to exclude small financial institutions that provide swaps in connection with loans from the heavy regulations as swap dealers. We did so because we understood the importance of allowing these institutions the ability to package together loans and hedging instruments.

Offering loans in this way allows small financial institutions to offset some of their underlying risk and offer lower loan rates to local farmers, ranchers, and small businesses. These lower loan rates mean the businesses that sustain our rural communities will have greater access to the capital they need to continue to invest in their growing businesses.

With the Entity Definitions recently released by the CTFC--although not yet published in the Federal Reserve--the CFTC took steps towards resolving the issues addressed by H.R. 3336. However, it left some undone. Unfortunately, the current rule is silent on the commodity swaps for agricultural businesses, is unnecessarily restrictive of farm credit system institutions, and applies arbitrary time restrictions on excluded swaps.

H.R. 3336 would strengthen the rule passed by the CTFC by expanding the scope of the exemption to protect the way rural America has long done business. The farms, ranches, and small businesses in the district I represent have never been and never will be a part of the systemic failure of our financial system. Neither they nor the small institutions that serve them ought to be considered as a threat.

Today's legislation is carefully tailored to ensure that we do not shackle small businesses and family farms with rules that ought to apply and are meant to police the largest Wall Street banks.

I want to thank Ms. Hartzler for the work that she's done on shepherding this bill through committee. She has been a staunch advocate for protecting small businesses from the overreach of Dodd-Frank. I would also like to thank Ranking Member Boswell, my counterpart on the General Farm Committees and Risk Management Subcommittee; our chairman, Mr. Lucas; and our ranking member, Mr. Peterson, for their continued efforts at comity and bipartisanship on the House Agriculture Committee.

Like many bills moved through our committee this year, H.R. 3336 passed with unanimous bipartisan support. This is a testament to the leadership on both sides of the aisle and to the carefully crafted bill that Ms. Hartzler introduced.

With those remarks, Madam Speaker, I urge swift adoption of the Small Business Credit Availability Act.

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