Commodity Futures Trading Commission Reauthorization Approved

Dec 12, 2007

Full Committee Passes CFTC Renewal by voice vote; three bills approved for House action

WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Agriculture today approved by voice vote a bipartisan measure to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  The Chairman’s Mark, sponsored by Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, reauthorizes CFTC until fiscal year 2013, strengthens the Commission’s authority over retail foreign exchange trading, increases civil penalties, and implements the Commission’s recommendations on improving oversight of Exempt Commercial Markets (ECMs).

 “The Committee’s action today to approve CFTC reauthorization signals strong, bipartisan support for the principles-based regulation model created in the 2000 law that has balanced investor protection with the rapid growth in innovative, exchange-traded products,” said Chairman Peterson.  “This bill is an important priority for Congress, as it strengthens the CFTC’s critical role in protecting investors from fraud and abuse in futures trading.”

 "The CFTC reauthorization bill is a solid bill that strengthens CFTC's authority to identify and prevent market manipulation and fraud,” said Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte.  “The Committee has done a good job of building on the language that was passed by the House in the last Congress and incorporated provisions to address the concerns that were voiced to the Committee earlier this year regarding manipulation and fraud.”

 “Whether the issue is energy trading, foreign currency trading, or trading in other commodities, the bottom line is keeping derivatives markets functioning properly to benefit our economy and the American public,” said General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina. “I believe the legislation passed by the committee does just that.”

"In creating legislation, it is important the Committee strike a balance that fosters industry growth, but yet gives CFTC the tools necessary to investigate and discipline those who choose to manipulate markets," said General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Moran of Kansas. "This bill strikes such a balance. It incorporates the recommendations of the Presidents Working Group on Financial Markets, as well as incorporates suggestions of the CFTC and industry participants."

 The CFTC Reauthorization Act of 2007:

  • Clarifies CFTC’s authority over retail currency trading.
  • Clarifies CFTC’s antifraud authority to pursue fraud cases involving principal-to-principal transactions.
  • Increases civil penalties for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.
  • Authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 2013.

The Act also gives CFTC new oversight of some trading activity on electronic trading facilities known as Exempt Commercial Markets.  Specifically, the bill:

  • Enables CFTC to determine whether an ECM contract performs a significant price discovery function.
  • Applies large trader reporting, self-regulatory oversight, and emergency authority to ECM significant price discovery contracts.
  • Applies exclusive CFTC jurisdiction to ECM significant price discovery contracts.

The Committee adopted one amendment, by Congressman David Scott of Georgia, to clarify that the CFTC, in interpreting the requirements of the core principles on ECMs, should give appropriate consideration to distinctions between trades that are settled bilaterally and those that are submitted to a clearinghouse.  The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

The Committee also passed three bills, all by voice vote.  The committee approved:

  • H. J. Res. 15, introduced by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, a member of the House Agriculture Committee.  This resolution recognizes the contributions of the Christmas tree industry to the U.S. economy.

  • H. R. 1374, introduced by Representatives Allen Boyd of Florida and Ander Crenshaw of Florida.  This bill amends the Florida National Forest Land Management Act of 2003 to permit a land conveyance in the Apalachicola National Forest in Leon County, Florida. 

  • H. R. 3454, introduced by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rick Boucher of Virginia, which permits a land conveyance of roughly 8 acres of the George Washington National Forest to the Central Advent Christian Church in Alleghany Co., VA.