Senate approves CFTC nominees

Commission now filled as Senate confirmed three Obama Commodity Futures Trading Commission to fill three vacated commissioner seats.

Tuesday the Senate approved the three nominees for the commissioner seats on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).


The Senate approved by a voice vote the new chairman Timothy Massad and J. Christopher Giancarlo. Sharon Bowen was confirmed by a vote of 48-46, as Republicans and a handful of Democrats voted against her nomination, which was anticipated to be a close vote.


The CFTC normally seats five commissioners, but has been with only two for most of the year.


The CFTC was originally designed to oversee agricultural and commodity trading, but now has been tasked with playing a critical role in implementing the reforms contained in The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.


Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) said “Bowen is an accomplished public servant who recognizes the urgency and importance of protecting the markets and ensuring they are transparent and working as intended. The Commission will benefit from Ms. Bowen’s experience and expertise, as will the farmers, ranchers and small businesses across the country who rely on the markets to hedge risk and continue growing their businesses.”


Massad, most recently oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). During his nomination hearing before the Senate Ag Committee he said in the course of his career he’s seen how important hedging forms of risks are for those in agribusiness including everyone ranging from fertilizer companies to rural electric cooperatives.


Giancarlo, the only Republican nominee, said he was open to increasing his knowledge of the agriculture sector. He noted despite being only 10% of the interests represented under CFTC’s oversight, agriculture still remains “very important” and even said he’d be interested in getting out into the field and meeting with constituents on agriculture issues. He also expressed interest in chairing the CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee has met only once since 2011.

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