Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that she and Ranking Member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) will begin the process of reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission later this year. She also encouraged CFTC officials to finalize rules and finish implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Stabenow said both efforts would help create transparency and ensure markets are safe for trading and free of manipulation.
"Reauthorization is an opportunity to critically examine these markets and weigh policy changes that would help protect markets and the public," Chairwoman Stabenow said at a Committee hearing conducting CFTC oversight. "These markets, whether for physical goods or financial products, must be orderly, transparent, competitive and safe for trading. We must have markets that allow farmers and business owners to manage risk without fear. That also means our "cops on the beat' must have the resources they need to do their jobs."
Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran will release a joint letter in the coming days that will invite public input on reauthorization.
"These comments and recommendations will become part of the public conversation," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "We would like to hear from the public on a couple of fronts: concerns with commodity market oversight generally and on the need for additional customer protections in light of the failures at MF Global and Peregrine Financial. Senator Cochran and I will work together closely on this issue. The process will be open and bipartisan while the product will be consensus-driven."
Stabenow further pressed for the CFTC to finalize implementation of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, citing the collapses of MF Global and Peregrine, as well as the possibility of a repeat of the 2008 financial meltdown that cost nearly 8 million jobs, as reasons for strengthening customer protections.
"While the CFTC is further ahead than other agencies in implementing this law, there are still many outstanding issues to address, including a final rule on Swaps Execution Facilities, cross-border guidance, and compliance with the law," she said. "I continue to be concerned that if the agency doesn't have the tools it needs implement reform and oversee these markets, we are asking for a repeat of the crisis that cost us so many jobs."
Chairman Gary Gensler, of the CFTC, testified before the Committee. An archived webcast of the hearing can be accessed on the Senate Agriculture Committee's website at http://ag.senate.gov. Below are Chairwoman Stabenow's opening remarks, as prepared for delivery.