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June 19, 2014

House CFTC Reauthorization Bill Protects Wall Street Banks by Handcuffing the CFTC Derivatives Cops on the Wall Street Beat and Dismantling Financial Reform

Washington, D.C., June 19, 2014 –Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the financial markets, made the following statement about the upcoming vote on H.R. 4413, the CFTC Reauthorization bill in the House of Representatives:

“Wall Street’s political allies in the House of Representatives have filled the CFTC Reauthorization bill with Wall Street’s wish list of deregulation provisions that put Americans at risk of another devastating financial crash.  Reckless, high risk derivatives gambling by Wall Street’s biggest banks was at the core of causing the 2008 financial crash, which is going to cost the U.S. more than $13 trillion.  The CFTC are the derivatives cops on the Wall Street beat trying to prevent Wall Street from doing that again.  This bill will handcuff those cops, kill essential derivatives reforms, roll back protections vital to every American, and make future financial crises and bailouts more likely.”

“For example, the bill will prohibit the CFTC from stopping Wall Street firms shifting their U.S. derivatives business overseas to avoid essential financial reform rules.  As a result, when Wall Street’s future overseas derivatives deals blow up, like AIG did in 2008, it will send the bill back to the American taxpayer.  The Reauthorization bill will also impose numerous crippling burdens on the CFTC.  While innocently named ‘cost-benefit analysis,’ these onerous, time-consuming provisions are really ‘industry cost-only analysis,’ which will require the CFTC to overweight industry’s inflated cost claims and to discount the costs to the public of another derivatives-fueled financial crash and economic catastrophe.  This legislation also has numerous other indefensible provisions that will prevent CFTC staff from doing their job to protect the American people from Wall Street’s excesses.”

“Elected officials who support these provisions are ignoring the American people who do not want their representatives protecting Wall Street at their expense.  Recently defeated Majority Leader Eric Cantor just learned that lesson the hard way.  This was confirmed by a new national poll showing voters’ disgust with Wall Street and its Washington enablers.  Indeed, 89% of voters view government efforts to reign in Wall Street as ‘poor’ or ‘only fair’ and many think that’s because Wall Street and Washington are in cahoots.  The pro-Wall Street, anti-Main Street provisions in this Reauthorization bill are why voters believe this.  Elected officials must stop protecting Wall Street banks and bankers’ bonuses and get back to protecting the voters who elected them.”

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