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Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Chairman K. Michael Conaway Committee on Agriculture Full Committee Hearing: Examining the Upcoming Agenda for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning. I want to welcome you all to today’s hearing examining the upcoming agenda at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

I’d like to start by welcoming back Chairman Giancarlo. Chris, it’s great to have you back here.

The committee last met with you in October and at that time, you were working on a number of important initiatives at the commission, notably, LabCFTC and Project KISS. You also outlined a plan to begin refining the Title VII swaps rules, focusing on the rules for trading and data reporting.

Since then, you’ve introduced a number of additional topics to the regulatory agenda through your recent Swaps 2.0 white paper. I appreciate the clear framing of your concerns and sensible suggestions you’ve made to solve real problems, while still supporting the overarching goals of Title VII. I look forward to an update on these efforts to improve the swaps regulatory regime.

I am also looking forward to an update on an area of significant concern to this committee: coordination and harmonization with our international regulatory peers.

Six years ago, when US regulators were seeking to extend the reach of our rules into foreign jurisdictions, we invited Patrick Pearson to testify on behalf of the European Commission before my subcommittee. In his testimony, he could not have been clearer: when two jurisdictions have comparable rules, regulators should be able to defer to one another.

Yet, today, it appears Europe is reversing course and proposing policies that would require a foreign jurisdiction to comply with EU rules in order to service the EU market. I supported Mr. Pearson’s position then—when I thought the CFTC was overreaching—and I still support that same position today, as the European Commission contemplates similar overreach. The European Commission needs to heed its own advice and preserve the hard-fought equivalency agreement with the United States.

Before I hand it off to the ranking member, I want to talk for just a moment about reauthorization and the CFTC’s budget.

When I became chairman, I made a pledge to clean up our statutes and reauthorize all of the lapsed programs in the committee’s jurisdiction. At the time, the CFTC had been unauthorized for well over a year, and I was concerned that if we didn’t get it done then, we never would.

To that end, the House passed legislation to reauthorize the commission in 2013…and again in 2015…and again in January 2017, but the Senate has consistently failed to act. The commission remains unauthorized and its budget remains flat for the third year in a row.

Even though Congress has not been able to act, the commission and its responsibilities have not stood still. Sitting before us today is a chairman who has worked harder than anyone I’ve met in government to fulfil Congress’ expectations as a steward of taxpayer dollars. He’s put together two budgets that are clear and sustainable, and he’s established a long-term vision for the agency and its mission.

Mr. Chairman, this committee expects you to continue to refine your rules, to oversee critical pieces of our financial markets, and to tackle all the new challenges that are coming. But, to do that, I acknowledge that you are going to need resources to hire staff and fund technology improvements. So, while I have not given up on reauthorizing the CFTC, we cannot hold the agency hostage to another year of the Senate’s inaction.

I hope that we can reset this debate and find a new way forward on both reauthorization and the commission’s budget in the coming months.

With that, thank you for joining us today. I look forward to your testimony.