Chairman Roberts: Nominations Give U.S. a Fully Functioning CFTC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing to consider the nominations of Rostin Behnam, Brian D. Quintenz, and Dawn DeBerry Stump to serve as Commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Click here to watch the hearing.

Per Committee Rules, a Committee vote on the nominations must occur in a separate business meeting of the Committee.

Click here to watch Chairman Roberts' opening statement. Below is Chairman Roberts’ opening statement 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 nominations of Mr. Russ Behnam, Mr. Brian Quintenz, and Mrs. Dawn DeBerry Stump, to serve as Commissioners of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

It was a pleasure to meet with you all earlier this week, and I thank you for appearing before the committee today. I recognize you all have close family and friends in the audience today. I welcome our guests to the Ag Committee.

As I have noted in previous hearings regarding the CFTC, 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 regulation and oversight provided by the CFTC allows end-users, such as farmers, ranchers, commercial companies, municipalities, energy companies, pension funds, and others – to hedge commercial risk by and through the derivatives market. These markets allow companies to generate jobs and produce goods and services for the economy.

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it again and again – it was not the farmer, rancher, rural cooperative, electric utility, or other end-users who contributed to the financial crisis of 2008. Yet, often times, these folks are the ones shouldering the heaviest burden when regulators decide what rules to impose.

A few weeks ago, we heard from Acting Chairman Giancarlo, about his vision for the CFTC, and I was encouraged by his passion for the work of the agency, and his plans going forward.

And, today, we will hear from three other nominees who, I believe, also have a proper appreciation of the turmoil the 2008 financial crisis imposed and the comprehensive Congressional response which followed.

Mr. Quintenz was working in the financial industry at the time, Mrs. Stump helped craft Title 7 of Dodd-Frank, and Mr. Behnam has been assisting this committee in overseeing its implementation for the past 6 years.

Discussions with the nominees have shed light not only on their policy positions regarding immediate, specific high profile issues such as the de minimis limit, but generally on their collective future visions for CFTC’s work.  Nominees also provided insight on their views of the Agency’s continued role regarding its exclusive jurisdiction over futures and swaps, and an outlook on the changes that have occurred since the inception of Dodd-Frank and that will most certainly continue. 

Whether it’s market participants who rely on the CFTC to provide regulatory certainty, or consumer financial advocates who highlight the need for robust oversight of the market; I think everyone can agree that we need a functioning Commission. I am confident the nominees we have today are well qualified and can further this mutual objective.

Again, I thank all of the nominees 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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