Ranking Member Stabenow Opening Statement at CFTC Reauthorization Hearing

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow(D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today released the following opening statement at the hearing titled “The State of the Derivatives Market and Perspectives for CFTC Reauthorization.”

Stabenow’s statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome to our witnesses here today. It’s good to be with you all to discuss the CFTC and its reauthorization.

It has been over a decade since Congress reauthorized the CFTC. I’m pleased that we are working on this together on a bipartisan basis, as we do every day in this Committee.

The CFTC plays a critical role in providing certainty in our futures and swaps markets for Main Street businesses, consumers, and farmers.

As you know, a lot has happened since the CFTC was last reauthorized back in 2008. We witnessed first-hand the disastrous consequences of financial deregulation. The global financial system broke down. Housing markets collapsed nationwide. Millions of families lost their homes and their financial security. Over 8 million jobs disappeared, while farmers and small businesses faced financial ruin.

The American people lost faith in the ability of banks to do what’s right. And worse – the American people lost faith in the ability of our government to protect our economy.

Next month will mark the nine-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act. Thanks to that legislation, we have a financial system that is stronger and more resilient. As we consider the reauthorization of the CFTC, we must not roll back the important reforms that have been implemented since the financial crisis.

CFTC reauthorization also gives us a chance to be forward-looking. It’s critical that we consider the opportunities as well as the challenges of tomorrow.

Cybersecurity is arguably the greatest systemic risk that our financial system faces today. Top executives in the global financial sector agree, and are devoting unprecedented resources to protect against cyberattacks.

We cannot allow the American economy to be endangered by any shortcomings in the security of our financial system. Our financial system must take necessary steps to protect against cyberattacks.

The CFTC also must protect its own information systems, especially against cyberattacks by foreign adversaries and other bad actors. In 2016, the SEC was attacked by Ukrainians and Russians attempting to gain access to confidential earnings reports. More recently, the CFTC reported an increase in phishing attempts aimed at stealing sensitive agency information. It is critical that the American people – and market participants – have confidence that the CFTC’s systems are secured at all times.

As we look ahead toward CFTC reauthorization, we must prioritize certain key issues.

Our futures and swaps markets help create American jobs and support economic stability for our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers. We need to do everything we can to ensure that the CFTC keeps our markets strong and free of fraud, manipulation, and disruptive practices.

Customer protection needs to continue as a top priority. We must ensure that the CFTC has the enforcement tools it needs to bring wrongdoers to justice.

Finally, I have long been an advocate for providing the CFTC with the resources it needs to fulfill its critical responsibilities. And yet, the CFTC continues to be underfunded, which leaves our financial system at risk.

It is our responsibility to solve this problem.

Thank you.