Agriculture Committee Continues Review of Commodity Exchange Act Legislation

Jul 11, 2008

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Agriculture Committee continued a series of hearings to review legislative proposals to amend the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).  The Committee finished its third straight day of hearing testimony from Members of Congress and stakeholder groups about pending legislation and the major issues surrounding commodity futures markets. 

“The last three days have demonstrated that any change in the regulation of commodity futures markets should be thoughtful and deliberate,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota.  “After hearing Wednesday from our House colleagues who have introduced legislation, we spent two full days talking to a wide array of stakeholder groups about the practical effects of amending CEA.  This is a very complex issue and major changes to the CEA could have unintended consequences.  Nevertheless, we plan to move forward and develop a bipartisan, consensus bill that addresses possible manipulation or excessive speculation in the futures markets."

"The hearings this week have provided this Committee with a lot of information--some of it contradictory--about the factors at work in the futures market and will help us determine what legislative activity, if any, would have any positive or immediate impact on high energy prices and not do more harm than good," said Committee Ranking Republican Bob Goodlatte.

The Committee heard testimony from six panels of stakeholder groups on Thursday, July 10, and Friday, July 11.  In addition to examining the legislative proposals before the House Agriculture Committee, the panels testified about major issues surrounding the regulation of commodity futures markets, including the treatment of swaps and over-the-counter markets, foreign boards of trade, pension and index fund participation in commodity markets, hedge exemptions and speculative position limits, and the possible raising of margin requirements.

Congressional oversight of commodity futures trading is under the jurisdiction of the House Agriculture Committee, chaired by Congressman Peterson. The Farm Bill, enacted into law earlier this month over the President’s veto, reauthorizes the chief regulator of these markets, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, through 2013.

A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website at a later date.


Thursday, July 10

Panel I

Mr. Greg Zerzan, Counsel and Head of Global Public Policy, International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Charles A. Vice, President and Chief Operating Officer, Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE), Atlanta, Georgia

Mr. Michael Comstock, Acting Director, City of Mesa, Arizona Gas System, on behalf of the American Public Gas Association (APGA), Mesa, Arizona

Dr. Michael Greenberger, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, Maryland 

Dr. Craig Pirrong, Professor of Finance, Director, Global Energy Management Institute, Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Panel II

Ms. Robin Diamonte, Chief Investment Officer, United Technologies Corporation, on behalf of the Committee on the Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA), Hartford, Connecticut

Dr. Scott H. Irwin, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Mr. Paul N. Cicio, President, Industrial Energy Consumers of America, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Jeffrey D. Korzenik, Chief Investment Officer, Vitale, Caturano & Company, Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Craig Pirrong, Professor of Finance, Director, Global Energy Management Institute, Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Panel III

Dr. James E. Newsome, President and Chief Executive Officer, New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX), New York, New York

Ms. Christine M. Cochran, Vice President, Government Relations, Commodity Markets Council (CMC), Washington, D.C.

Mr. Joseph T. Nicosia, President, American Cotton Shippers Association, Memphis, Tennessee

Mr. Adam K. White, Director of Research, White Knight Research and Trading, Alpharetta, Georgia


Friday, July 11
Panel I

Mr. Mark Young, Futures Industry Association, Washington, D.C.

Mr. David Peniket, President and COO, ICE Futures Europe, London, United Kingdom

Mr. Gerry Ramm, Inland Oil Company, on behalf of Petroleum Marketers Association of America, Ephrata, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Michael Greenberger, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, Maryland

Panel II

Mr. Terrence A. Duffy, Executive Chairman, CME Group, Chicago, Illinois

Mr. Kendell Keith, President, National Grain and Feed Association, Washington, D.C.

Mr. John Johnston, Independent Trader, Morristown, New Jersey

Panel III

Mr. Tim Lynch, Senior Vice President, American Trucking Association, Arlington, Virginia

Mr. Daniel J. Roth, President and CEO, National Futures Association, Chicago, Illinois

Mr. Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Washington, D.C.

Captain John Prater, President, Airline Pilots Association, International, Washington, D.C.