Ranking Member Stabenow Opening Statement at Hearing to Consider CFTC Commissioner Nominees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, today released the following opening statement – as prepared for delivery – at the nomination hearing to consider Rostin Behnam, Brian D. Quintenz, and Dawn DeBerry Stump to serve as Commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

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

Good Morning. I’d like to welcome and congratulate our three nominees and their families here today.

Ms. Stump, welcome back to our Committee. I know you have previously served honorably on the Ag Committee staff, including your diligent work to draft Title Seven of Dodd-Frank, which made critical reforms to the CFTC.

Mr. Quintenz, welcome back to you as well.  President Obama nominated you to be a CFTC Commissioner last Congress and it was not long ago that you were sitting in that very seat. 

Finally, welcome to Mr. Behnam. As a member of my staff, you have done excellent work for this Committee and provided valuable insight on a variety of issues, including the CFTC, over the past six years. I am very happy that you have been nominated for this important position. 

As all of you know, Acting Chairman Chris Giancarlo sat in this room just last month and pledged to continue the progress of Wall Street reform, and uphold the CFTC’s mission to foster open, transparent, and competitive financial markets.

If confirmed as CFTC Commissioners, it is essential that you work together on a bipartisan basis to make the best decisions possible for our farmers, businesses, and consumers.

You should also keep in mind the impact your decisions have on the economic health of our nation.

It’s been nearly a decade since our country experienced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

We all remember the devastating impacts of that disaster: 8 million American jobs were lost, many farmers and homeowners faced foreclosure, and countless businesses went bankrupt.

Last week marked seven years since the passage of the historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

While this important legislation has brought greater transparency, there is still much more work that needs to be done to implement further improvements.

The CFTC has unfinished business on key rules that must be completed to ensure our markets are not at risk.

For example, we need a meaningful position limits rule as called for in Dodd-Frank. The Commission must also move forward to establish important capital requirements for swap dealers. It is critical that the Commission take swift action on these issues.

The CFTC must also have the resources to effectively monitor and oversee our markets, especially as we face new challenges with cybersecurity.

The current CFTC budget is clearly insufficient. Less than two months ago, the White House issued a budget proposal that severely underfunds the Commission.

I applauded Acting Chairman Giancarlo for offering his own proposal to show what the Commission needs to keep our derivatives markets strong and competitive.

I have said that I will fight for the funding the CFTC needs to meet its responsibilities and I hope all of you share this commitment.

As you know, the CFTC has had vacant commissioner positions for too long and I am pleased to be considering the three of you today. Now that the last remaining Commissioner Sharon Bowen has announced plans to leave the CFTC, there is one additional commissioner slot that needs a nominee.

It is essential that the Administration moves quickly to nominate a qualified candidate for this seat. Our farmers, ranchers, and consumers deserve to have a full slate of leaders at the CFTC to continue making improvements to our financial markets.

Mr. Chairman, once we receive a nominee, I look forward to working with you to move quickly through the process to seat a full Commission.

Thank you.