House Ag Panel members spar over need to extend Dodd-Frank timeline

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, May 4 - In a straight party-line vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 1573, a bill that Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla, describes as a “common-sense way” to give regulators an additional 18-months to write and vet the rules governing derivatives under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

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Lucas says the legislation is in response to concerns from businesses across the country about what they say is the rushed pace of rulemaking by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

"This does not kill the bill,” emphasized Lucas. “We need to acknowledge that Dodd-Frank set impractically tight deadlines for the implementation of dozens of regulations that will touch every segment of the economy. We can't ignore the concerns of businesses that we're relying on to further our economic recovery.”

But Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and fellow Democrats weren't “buying” any of what Lucas was selling. Launching into a lengthy statement, Peterson said, “Today begins part two of Republican efforts to see that the important financial reforms enacted last year never see the light of day.

“I don't think this is a serious legislative effort,” Peterson concluded. “I think it's a partisan game. I don't think this is going anywhere in the Senate.”

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Chairman of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management fired back at Peterson.

“I couldn't give a rats rear-end whether the Senate passes this or not. I didn't get elected by anyone in the Senate,” noted Conaway.

The legislation would allow the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and others sufficient time to move forward with the workload handed to them by Congress last year, according to Conaway, who chairs the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.

”While this bill is not an end-all be-all solution given the current track of the CFTC, it is an important first step in attempting to ensure Congress isn't forced for years to try and correct a litany of unintended consequences that will undoubtedly arise as a direct result of a hurried rule making process," said Conaway.

Fifteen farm, energy and business groups wrote letters in support of H.R. 1573, including the Natural Gas Supply Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, Electric Power Supply Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Associations, Agriculture Retailers Association, American Petroleum Institute, Business Roundtable, Commodity Markets Council, Financial Executives International, National Association of Manufacturers,  National Association of Corporate Treasurers, US Chamber of Commerce and the Investment Company Institute

The House Financial Services Committee is expected to consider H.R. 1573 as early as next week. No similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate at this time.

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