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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would restore full funding, per the President's request of $308 million, to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The additional $128 million in funds would be raised through the sale of new leases.

The current funding level for CFTC sets the commission up for failure. If the current funding level remains as is, Wall Street will be able to continue the risky manipulation of derivatives that brought on the last collapse, and Big Oil will continue to enjoy inflated profits every year due to erratic and artificially swollen oil prices. The losers will be the American people, who will pay more at the pump, or even worse.

At this funding level, the House majority sets up taxpayers to pay for yet another costly bailout of Wall Street. Republican and Democratic experts agree that the CFTC needs to be fully funded. Republican Gene Guilford, President and CEO of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, served in the Commerce and Energy Departments under Ronald Reagan. He has said that the funding level for CFTC is ``horribly counterproductive.'' It would ``weaken its ability to enforce the oversight laws necessary to protect the American people.''

According to Brooksley Born, the former chair of the CFTC, the commission is ``desperately in need of additional funding.'' This budget, she argues, ``would leave us all vulnerable to future financial crises.''

According to Gary Gensler, the current chairman of the CFTC, the agency is only 10 percent larger than it was in the 1990s, even as the futures market has grown to approximately $37 trillion notional.

And through the Dodd-Frank reforms, Congress has added oversight of the $300 trillion swaps market, which is even more complex, and increased the number of trades under their jurisdiction by 334 percent in 2011.

Gensler says, ``It is as if all of a sudden the National Football League expanded eight times to play more than 100 games in a weekend with the same amount of referees.''

We know for a fact that the risky behavior in the derivatives market is what precipitated the 2008 financial meltdown. It's still happening. We have seen it at MF Global and J.P. Morgan. We also know for a fact that excessive speculation in oil markets causes gas prices to oscillate wildly. Even the CEO of Exxon has said as much.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to help to make sure that the CFTC has the resources to do its job, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. DeLAURO. If I might just take a second to remind the gentleman from Texas that, in fact, this amendment was made in order. And in the body of the language, it does talk about it being subject to appropriations.

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Ms. DeLAURO. We are not here as representatives of Wall Street, but we are representatives of the American people. We need the CFTC to oversee the risky behaviors to enforce the law. We are here to represent the American taxpayer, not Wall Street or big banks.

The current funding that's being pursued by the majority is reckless. I urge my colleagues to put Main Street over Wall Street and support the amendment.

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