Roberts: Dodd-Frank Proposals Could Lead to Mass Exodus of Capital from the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today focused on the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank bill being signed into law and the challenges that lay ahead in implementing it for Mark Wetjen, the nominee to sit on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
 
“One-year ago today, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act - enacting into law a labyrinth of new requirements impacting not just Wall Street and Main Street but also every Rural Route 1 throughout the countryside,” said Roberts. “I sincerely hope that it was not the intent of Dodd-Frank and those who wrote the law to create a mass exodus of capital from the U.S. This is why we need commissioners who will adhere to the law, act in accordance with Congressional intent, and be an independent voice. Thorough cost-benefit analysis must be completed on these proposals so the commissioners, Congress and the public have a full understanding of their consequences.”
 
Senator Roberts made the comments today at the confirmation hearing for Wetjen to be a commissioner of the CFTC. It falls on the anniversary of the 800 page Dodd-Frank bill being signed into law, reengineering the U.S.’s financial markets. The bill has generated thousands of pages of controversial new regulations. Fifty-one of the new rules are proposed by the CFTC’s 31 different rule making teams, which Wetjen would help oversee.
 
Click here to view Sen. Roberts' remarks at the hearing.
 
The following are his prepared remarks:
 
Madam Chairwoman, I appreciate you calling this hearing today to review the nomination of Mr. Mark Wetjen. And I also welcome the Majority Leader to the Ag Committee.
 
I’ve met with Mr. Wetjen. He’s a bright young man who, if confirmed, will have a difficult job ahead of him.
 
One-year ago today, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act - enacting into law a labyrinth of new requirements impacting not just Wall Street and Main Street but also every Rural Route 1 throughout the countryside. This committee has held two hearings on the general implementation of this new law and I hope we have more. We’ve heard from folks up and down the industry chain – from end-users to dealers to clearing houses to self-regulating entities – all with varying degrees of concern about how the CFTC plans to regulate futures and swaps.
 
Many of my colleagues and I have also expressed concern over CFTC’s proposals, and I point out the effort has been bipartisan. For instance, I understand in May members of the New York delegation – of which this committee is fortunate to have Senator Gillibrand as a member – sent a letter to the CFTC, FDIC, The Fed, and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency on the issue of CFTC’s attempt to regulate trades occurring overseas between non-U.S. participants. I share their concern – if they want an honorary Marshall of Dodge City to sign a similar letter next time, just let me know.
 
Now I didn’t vote for Dodd-Frank for several reasons but one central concern was that the rules outlined in the legislation would have the effect of driving business overseas…moving liquidity from the U.S. to our competitors.
 
The New Yorkers’ letter expressed this concern but we’ve also heard this from our competitors themselves. I included a letter from Japan into the record in our last hearing. Following up on that theme - recently a Deutsche Bank executive was quoted as describing CFTC’s proposals as “a terrific opportunity” for European countries at the expense of the U.S. – let me repeat that… “a terrific opportunity” for European countries at the expense of the U.S.
 
I mention this today to highlight the importance of the job for which Mr. Wetjen is nominated. I sincerely hope that it was not the intent of Dodd-Frank and those who wrote the law to create a mass exodus of capital from the U.S.
 
This is why we need commissioners who will adhere to the law, act in accordance with Congressional intent, and be an independent voice. Thorough cost-benefit analysis must be completed on these proposals so the commissioners, Congress and the public have a full understanding of their consequences.
 
By the time Mr. Wetjen may arrive at the CFTC, there will probably be more than 40 final rules to consider – many of them the most complex and controversial. Chairman Gensler has indicated that he plans to hold meetings to finalize these rules every few weeks for the remainder of the year.
 
Now this is not intended as a criticism of you Mr. Wetjen, but how can anyone be expected to absorb the huge amount – thousands and thousands of pages – of information that has been collected on each one of these rules without having the benefit of meeting with affected parties and being involved in the entire process?
 
I’m interested in hearing how the nominee plans to climb this mountain of information before he’s asked to vote on a rule.
 
Again, thank you Madam Chairwoman for calling the hearing and thank you to Majority Leader Reid for joining us today.
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