Three CFTC Nominees Approved by Senate Panel

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By Phyllis Diamond

Three nominees for seats on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission were approved Aug. 2 by the Senate Agriculture Committee, clearing the way for a Senate floor vote.

“We all agree that the CFTC needs a full Commission,” Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said in a release. “We’re pleased our Committee has done its work to get these nominees through in a bipartisan manner.

If, as expected, Democrat Rostin Behnam and Republicans Brian Quintenz and Dawn DeBerry Stump are confirmed, the derivatives regulator would have a full complement of five members. The CFTC is currently down to two commissioners—Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo and Democrat Sharon Bowen. Bowen, however, has said she plans to step down from the agency.

Behnam currently is counsel for the Agriculture Committee’s minority staff. Stump is a lobbyist and consultant, and Quintenz is a former commodity pool executive. He also was nominated for the CFTC by President Barack Obama but never received a Senate vote.

Position Limits

The three nominees said at their confirmation hearing in late July that they would seek to move forward with a longstanding rule proposal to impose speculative position limits. They agreed that the sticking point to adoption is how to define a hedging exemption from the rule for so-called end users—parties such as farmers and ranchers that use futures contracts for risk-management purposes. The nominees also backed Giancarlo’s request for $281.5 million in funding for fiscal 2018, $31.5 million more than the White House sought for the agency.

The committee didn’t say when the Senate would take up the nominations, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is negotiating with Democrats to move a number of President Donald Trump’s nominees before lawmakers depart shortly for their August recess. Giancarlo, who was nominated to chair the agency on a permanent basis, previously cleared the committee and also is awaiting a Senate vote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phyllis Diamond in Washington at pdiamond@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at ywilczek@bna.com

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