Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today strongly urged the officials charged with overseeing the implementation of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to finalize new rules to protect the U.S. economy and the investors, consumers and businesses that rely on the stability of markets. Chairwoman Stabenow said the Agriculture Committee will hold hearings on the implementation of Wall Street Reform in the coming weeks.
"Recent events like the MF Global bankruptcy and the losses at JP Morgan are prime examples of why we needed to pass this bill," Chairwoman Stabenow wrote in a letter to the nation's top financial officials. "These are certainly complex issues, and I applaud you for keeping an open process that has allowed businesses and consumers to comment on these rules. But after two years of deliberation, it is time to get the rules written and to fully implement this strong reform bill."
The text of Chairwoman Stabenow's letter, sent to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, FDIC Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg, and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry can be found below.
Two years ago Sunday, the U.S. Senate passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to clean up abuses in the financial industry and stop future taxpayer bailouts of the banks. Recent events like the MF Global bankruptcy and the losses at JP Morgan are prime examples of why we needed to pass this bill. These are certainly complex issues, and I applaud you for keeping an open process that has allowed businesses and consumers to comment on these rules. But after two years of deliberation, it is time to get the rules written and to fully implement this strong reform bill.
I am particularly concerned with the need to implement important reforms of the derivatives markets. Nearly four years after the financial crisis, many swaps are still trading in the dark while stronger capital and margin standards have yet to be finalized. I understand that you have faced significant budgetary, political, and legal headwinds, and certainly there are interests that would benefit from maintaining the status quo. However, we need to get this done - these markets must be transparent and accountable.
I know you have faced significant pressure from some in Congress who want overturn the strong consumer and investor protections passed in the Wall Street Reform Act. We have seen proposals to defund the agencies charged with protecting our markets even as events at home and around the globe continue to underscore the need for effective oversight of these markets. We cannot forget that in 2008 we were truly on the brink of a global economic collapse. We cannot return to those days of taxpayer bailouts and shadowy markets monopolized by a few.
You have a difficult but important task. As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I stand ready to do whatever is necessary to help you complete this critical task on behalf of American investors, consumers, and businesses that rely on these markets. In the coming weeks, we will be holding further hearings on accomplishing this goal. I look forward to your cooperation.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow
Chairwoman, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry