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Public Statements

Small Business Credit Availability Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PETERSON. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, today, the House considers H.R. 3336, a bill which makes clarifying changes to the Dodd-Frank Act. Like two other Dodd-Frank bills that the House passed previously--H.R. 2779, the inter-affiliate bill, and H.R. 2682, the margin bill--this legislation was crafted in a bipartisan manner.

As the Ag Committee continues to oversee the implementation of Dodd-Frank, I firmly believe that the CFTC is ultimately going to get the rules and regulations right. If you look at the Dodd-Frank rules that have already been completed, by and large they have been bipartisan and responsive to the concerns that we have heard during our oversight hearings.

For example, during a legislative hearing last year, we heard concerns about business conduct standards and the potential impact it could have on pension plans' ability to use swaps to hedge risk. When the commission approved a bipartisan final rule establishing these business conduct standards, the general response from the pension community was satisfaction.

More recently, the CFTC approved last week--again with a bipartisan vote of 4 1--rules defining who will be subject of Dodd-Frank's new oversight. Again, the general view from the end-user community is that the rule addresses their concerns. In fact, I believe one of the bills the committee voted on earlier, H.R. 3527, which rewrote the swap dealer definition, now no longer seems necessary.

I talk frequently with CFTC Chairman Gensler, and from what he has told me, I am confident that the remaining concerns that H.R. 3336 seeks to address will ultimately be resolved satisfactorily by the CFTC. I think somebody used this bill to send a message to the CFTC, and since that message is consistent with the original intent of Dodd-Frank, I have no objection to it.

As originally considered by the committee, H.R. 3336 is meant to address concerns raised by farm credit institutions, credit unions, and small banks that worry about being forced to clear. Under current law, the CFTC is supposed to develop an asset-based exemption from clearing. When you look at the swap activity of some of the banks, questions were raised whether a fixed-asset test was appropriate. The risk-based test contained in the bill will, I think, prove more than adequate and certainly will provide incentives to banks to more robustly back up their swap positions, to the extent that they are not doing so now.

During the committee's markup of H.R. 3336, Representatives McIntyre and Owens raised concerns they heard on behalf of captive finance companies which fear that the exemptions provided to them under the Dodd-Frank law will not be implemented properly. This bill not only addresses those concerns, it closed a potential loophole in Dodd-Frank which could have allowed captive finance companies to use the original Dodd-Frank exemption to engage in speculation or swap activities unrelated to the commercial business without proper oversight.

Also, during the markup, Representative Costa raised concerns on behalf of California utilities, which fear being classified as swap dealers for entering into transactions necessary to comply with State regulations. Working with members of the California delegation, we were able to adequately address these concerns as well.

Given that the legislation clarifies what Congress intended to do with the original Dodd-Frank law, I urge my colleagues to support its passage.

And with that, Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. PETERSON. Madam Speaker, again, this bill clarifies what was the original intent of the Dodd-Frank deliberations. Some of what's in this bill, I think, has already been resolved, but there are some clarifications here. If there is duplication, it doesn't do any harm, so we support this bill and encourage that it be adopted.

I yield back the balance of my time


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