House Agriculture Committee will take two days to study commodity reform bills

July 10-11 The House Agriculture Committee will hold two days of public hearings on bills which have been proposed to amend the Commodity Exchange Act at 10 a.m. in Longworth House Office Building Room 1300.

Why it matters: Several House members believe energy commodity markets have been overrun with speculators who have inflated crude oil prices to record peaks and have introduced bills to correct the problem. This is the House committee which has jurisdiction over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which critics say has taken too cautions an approach. These sessions will attempt to produce a final bill to send on to the House floor, committee chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) has indicated.

The fact that he has schedule two days for this reflects the range of proposals from an outright ban of purely financial interests from energy commodity markets to requiring the CFTC to order foreign boards of trade trading US oil contracts to comply with requirements which domestic exchanges have to meet.

CFTC Acting Chairman Walter L. Lukken has testified before several House and Senate Committees that the agency already has taken several significant steps to improve foreign exchanges' disclosures. The House overwhelmingly passed a bill on June 26 calling on the commission to use authority it already has to do just that, but the Senate defeated the measure the next day. These House Agriculture Committee hearings could be the primary point for consolidating proposals into a final working bill.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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