WASHINGTON Dec 14 Influential Senate Democrats
on Wednesday blasted the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading
Commission for putting off a final rule to limit positions that
traders can hold in commodity markets and pressed its outgoing
chairman to finish up post-financial crisis reforms.
Ohio's Sherrod Brown, senior Democrat on the Banking
Committee, and Maria Cantwell of Washington state, top Democrat
on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined Dianne
Feinstein of California in a letter stating that the position
limits rule "has been unnecessarily delayed and is now on track
to be weaker."
Last week, the commission said it was redrafting its
proposal to carry out part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street
reform law calling for limits on futures, options and physical
commodity swaps contracts in order to prevent fraud and
CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad had previously said he
anticipated the commission would finalize the rule before the
end of 2016.
But now Massad, a Democrat, will step aside as chairman once
Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20.
Republican Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo, who has qualms
about the position-limits regulation, will temporarily take
"We are disturbed by the CFTC's action to delay this
rulemaking and your inability to guide the rule to completion in
the two and a half years of your tenure," the senators wrote to
Massad. "You have simply kicked the issue into the future and
created the uncertainty that you stated you were trying to
Dodd-Frank greatly expanded the CFTC's powers and gave it a
long list of rules to enact. While the agency has led the pack
in finalizing Dodd-Frank rules, the senators said this year the
CFTC has delayed or weakened final rules on the de minimis
exemption, capital and liquidity for swap dealers, margin
requirements for uncleared swaps, and automated trading.
"We urge you to spend your remaining time putting the CFTC
in a position to finalize strong Dodd-Frank rules for the
derivatives market as contemplated by Congress," they wrote.
Under a law known as the Congressional Review Act, though,
any regulation that the CFTC has approved since May could be
voided by the Republican-led Congress once Trump moves into the
White House and can sign off on their disapproval.
Republicans in both the Senate and the House of
Representatives have warned regulators not to push through
"midnight rulemakings" before Democratic President Barack Obama
A CFTC spokesman declined to comment on the letter.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)