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Chairman David Scott Opening Statement at Hearing on the State of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Washington, May 1, 2019
[As prepared for delivery]

“Thank you for joining us here today to receive this report on the state of affairs at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. We’re happy to have Chairman Giancarlo with us today, and as this is our first subcommittee hearing, I look forward to a productive Congress alongside the distinguished Ranking Member and my fellow Georgian, Mr. Scott.

Before we start, I want to take a second to reflect on the loss of Bart Chilton this past weekend. Those of us who have been on the committee for some time know Bart from a career that spans USDA, Farm Credit Administration, Farmers Union, and both the House and the Senate; but everyone knows his contributions as a Commissioner at CFTC. He was a strong advocate for transparency and common sense in regulation, and we will miss him very much.

The CFTC was established as an independent agency outside of the Department of Agriculture through the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974.

The Commission states that its mission “is to foster open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound markets.

Dodd Frank was passed as a result of the Financial Crisis and expanded the CFTC to regulate swaps.

Title 7 of Dodd Frank added safety and soundness to the markets by including market transparency and required clearing.

Challenges facing the CFTC today are final implementation of Dodd Frank, cross-border issues and new technologies such as automated trading and cryptocurrency.

For 2019, CFTC is funded at $268 million. In FY 2020, the Commission is requesting a total of $315.0 million. This budget request consists of two separate requests, the annual Commission operational funding of $284 million and a new request to support the relocation of three regional offices of $31 million.

It’s worth noting the purview of CFTC in real terms: the total nominal value of the U.S. swaps is $282 trillion and U.S. futures $27 trillion. That’s real money and it conveys real weight to what we do here.

For years I have tried to draw attention to the large job the CFTC has, and I’ve been a long-time supporter of increased funding for the CFTC.

There is an issue I want to raise though, and it’s an important one. Yesterday, CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam sent a letter to the CFTC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion detailing the diversity and representation profile of the senior and executive staff at the Commission. He lays out some troubling numbers and asks some pointed questions, and they are things that we’re going to look into on this subcommittee but let me say this: diversity is a strength. It will make your agency stronger not only by the varied viewpoints and backgrounds that women, LGBTQ employees and employees of color bring, but also through the credibility the agency will gain by accurately reflecting the diversity of our great country.

Mr. Chairman, it’s my hope that you will take your colleague’s thoughts and concerns to heart and move forward in a constructive manner on this important issue.

In closing I want to recognize the work that Chairman Giancarlo has done, and the openness with which he has approached his interactions with me and the Committee. It is certainly a roadmap for a productive relationship that I hope subsequent Chairmen will follow.

With that I would like to recognize my Ranking Member, the other distinguished Mr. Scott from Georgia, for five minutes.”
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