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Congressional ag committees hear testimony on CFTC

7/26/2013 at 12:00 a.m.

WASHINGTON — This week, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management had two hearings related to the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). 

The commission’s statutory authority expires at the end of the fiscal year, so Congress is in the process of writing new authorizing legislation, including new rules and regulations mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act.

As part of this process, the subcommittee is gathering information and perspectives on the commission. The Senate Ag Committee did the same thing last week.

Yesterday, the House panel heard testimony from end-users, including representatives of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Edison Electric Institute, Southwest Airlines and the American Gas Association. Tuesday, CFTC commissioners Scott O'Malia and Mark Wetjen testified. Last May, a similar hearing brought market perspectives from CME Group, the National Futures Association, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and other groups.

Of the hearings, Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) said: "The past two years have been a regulatory roller coaster for end-users. The lack of certainty has no doubt cost many companies valuable capital and changed their strategic thinking. Regulations should be created and exist to protect markets, not destroy them."

Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA), said: “With the passage of Dodd-Frank, the CFTC has become one of the most important regulators in the U.S., if not the entire world. ... So, today’s hearing was vitally important in reviewing the tasks CFTC has on its plate, and ensuring that they have the tools both statutorily and monetarily to accomplish the job Congress has given them."

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