The House on Tuesday passed a bill to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission following almost a week of stalled talks.
The Customer Protection and End-User Relief Act, HR 4413, passed with a 265-144 vote, leaving only Democrats voting against the measure. The legislation reauthorizes the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through 2018.
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said the bill would cement key protections into law for futures customers like farmers and ranchers and reduce the regulatory load on end-users.
Debate included approval of an amendment from Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., that would exempt Registered Investment Companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission from registration requirements with the CFTC, allowing the SEC to continue to have full regulatory oversight and enforcement authority over RICs.
Garrett said the move addresses "duplicative and overly burdensome requirements on behalf of pensioners, savers, retirees, endowments, municipalities and many other investors."
"It is important that government public policy minimizes the regulatory costs of investing for retirees, pensioners, and savers," Garrett said. "We must strike the right balance between ensuring investors have the ability to earn adequate returns on their investments with appropriate regulatory oversight of our financial markets."
Though Republicans largely maintained that the bill provides adequate resources for CFTC policing, Democrats opposed to the bill feared the CFTC will not have enough resources to adequately protect the markets.
According to a White House statement, the bill "undermines the efficient functioning" of the CFTC and "offers no solution to address the persistent inadequacy of the agency's funding," an idea echoed by Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., following the vote.
"We have 21st century markets and we need a 21st century regulator to match," Chairwoman of the. "We must make sure the agency responsible for protecting these markets has the resources, authority, staff and technology it needs to be effective," she said.
"It is disappointing that the bill provides no additional funding mechanism and adds new layers of administrative burdens, hindering the agency's ability to do its job and effectively regulate these markets."
The Senate has held several hearings on CFTC reauthorization, but has not developed a bill. In crafting the legislation, Stabenow said she looks forward to bipartisan collaboration.
"We have an important opportunity for market reform, to restore faith in the markets and help ensure they are transparent and functioning as intended – and we intend on doing that in a collaborative and bipartisan way," she said.