(Adds background and comments from lawmakers)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee voted on Thursday to advance the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to lead the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to the full chamber for a vote to confirm him.
Giancarlo, a Republican, received bipartisan support from the panel, with 16 members voting in his favor and only five Democrats dissenting.
Committee Chairman Pat Roberts on Thursday described Giancarlo as “abundantly qualified,” while ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow praised him for showing he could work “on a bipartisan basis.”
Giancarlo has already been acting chairman of the CFTC since January, after President Donald Trump took office. In March, Trump nominated him as permanent chairman of the regulator tasked with policing the massive over-the-counter derivatives market.
Since then, Trump has nominated two other commissioners to fill the remaining two Republican vacancies on the five-member panel - Brian Quintenz, a former fund manager and congressional policy adviser, and Dawn Stump, a former vice president of NYSE Euronext, now part of Intercontinental Exchange Inc.
Former president Barack Obama had also nominated Quintenz to the post, but the nomination never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.
The Senate panel has not yet held a confirmation hearing for either nominee.
Trump has yet to announce candidates to fill the two vacant spots reserved for Democrats.
Last week, CFTC Democratic Commissioner Sharon Bowen announced plans to depart in the near future. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Von Ahn)