Chairman Roberts Holds CFTC Chairman Nomination Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing on the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to be the next chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

To watch the hearing and read Mr. Giancarlo’s testimony, click here.

Click here to watch Chairman Roberts' opening statement.

A separate business meeting to vote on Giancarlo’s nomination will be held at a later date.

Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks, as prepared for delivery:

I call this hearing of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee to order.

I welcome my colleagues as we consider the nomination of Mr. J. Christopher Giancarlo to serve as Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Mr. Giancarlo, it was a pleasure to see you in Montana a few weeks ago, and I thank you for being with us all today. Also, I note that you have your wife, children, and other close family and friends in the audience today. Allow me to welcome you all to the Ag Committee.

As noted in the CFTC’s mission statement, this agency is charged with fostering open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound markets, while working to prevent systemic risk. Further, the Commission is tasked with protecting market users and their funds, consumers, and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to derivatives and other products that are subject to the Commodity Exchange Act.

 The services provided by the CFTC allow farmers, ranchers, commercial companies, municipalities, pension funds and others who rely on derivatives to hedge commercial risk, and focus on what they do best –innovating, creating jobs, and producing food, goods, and services for the economy.

It is essential the CFTC have individuals in charge who truly take its mission statement and responsibilities to heart.

And, Mr. Giancarlo, you have demonstrated your understanding of that mission during your time at the CFTC.  In fact, in 2014, this Committee voted unanimously to advance your nomination and the Senate confirmed you by a voice vote. 

And, let us not forget, it was not the farmer, rancher, rural cooperative, electric utility, nor other end-users who contributed to the financial crisis of 2008.

Many members raised concerns during consideration of Dodd-Frank and insisted the legislation provide flexibility to those who rely on these markets, but did not contribute to the 2008 crisis…and, it is important to note that this was a bipartisan concern.

Yet, when Dodd-Frank became law, and the CFTC began writing new regulations, limited flexibility was provided from the heavy hand of government overreach.  

Therefore, moving forward, it is imperative that both Congress and our federal financial regulators work to provide necessary and appropriate relief to our nation’s providers of food and energy, and to those who export U.S. goods. To do this, we need a functioning CFTC which handles regulations practically and looks to reduce federal overreach.

In fact, I believe the recent announcement of your initiative to apply current rules and regulations in a less burdensome manner is a perfect example of getting our federal agencies back to how they were intended to function— governing, not ruling, and to be a true partner to our nation’s market participants.

Further, I am encouraged by the CFTC’s launch of LabCFTC, which is intended to foster financial technological innovation – something that is happening at light speed, whether we like it or not. I am glad you intend to stay out ahead of the curve and engage with the modern derivatives marketplace.

Mr. Giancarlo, it is imperative all Commissioners understand the historic nature of a portion of the markets the CFTC regulates, which is to provide risk management tools for producers of agriculture commodities. It is often lost on many in Washington that these financial markets create and allow for stability – stability that we all appreciate when we go to the grocery store on any given day and buy food at affordable prices.

 Functioning markets benefit every hard working family in America. Those families would feel the effects if our agricultural producers lacked the market’s affordable and effective risk management tools to help lock in fair and reasonable prices. This is especially true today as the farm economy is struggling.

 I am grateful you understand, and are committed to fostering a functional marketplace for all participants. And, I especially appreciate your commitment to our rural stakeholders.

Again, I thank the nominee for being here today, and I look forward to your testimony. I now turn to my colleague, Ranking Member Stabenow, for her opening remarks.   


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