U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture

06/16/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/16/2021 14:07

Opening Statement: Republican Leader Glenn 'GT' Thompson Full Committee Business Meeting: Consideration of the Committee Print of S. 409

Remarks as prepared for the record:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to start by thanking you for calling this markup and allowing the Committee to proceed with our business through regular order. I think it is so important for our members to be able to work on bipartisan legislation and protecting this critical program is an opportunity for us to come together and fulfill our responsibilities. I know it takes a little more time, but I believe these interactions build trust and good habits.

The CFTC's whistleblower program is an essential part of enforcement at the CFTC and one that has been remarkably successful. Since 2010, tips provided through the whistleblower program have resulted in monetary sanctions for violations of the law totaling nearly $1 billion. In return, whistleblowers have been awarded nearly $120 million.

Yet, the program might become a victim of its own success.

In a few short weeks, several exceptionally large whistleblower awards will be paid out, which will drain the fund and leave it with a negative balance. When that happens, 21 CFTC employees will be furloughed, and the work of the Whistleblower Office and the Office of Customer Education and Outreach will grind to a halt.

This is unacceptable. These two offices support our healthy, vibrant commodity markets. They are essential to the Commission's ability to police our markets and protect Americans from fraud and other violations of the law.

The legislation before us today is a bipartisan, bicameral product that has been carefully negotiated with the experts at the Commission. It is limited in scope, addressing the immediate need to protect the operations of the Whistleblower and Customer Education Offices, and it is temporary, to provide us time to work out a permanent solution to the whistleblower financing mechanisms.

It's also important to note this legislation represents no new outlays of federal funds and will not cost the taxpayers any money. Additionally, it makes no changes to the awards whistleblowers are entitled to under current law. The only thing this legislation does is ensure the resources necessary to operate these critical programs remain available until the end of Fiscal Year 2022. This will provide enough time for the Committee to craft a permanent fix for the fund as we develop and pass a package to reauthorize the Commission later this Congress.

Mr. Chairman, I know you are a strong supporter of efforts to reauthorize the Commission. Last Congress, I saw how tirelessly you worked to bring our bipartisan legislation to the Floor. I look forward to working with you on those priorities again and adding further Customer Protection Fund improvements as well.

I want to thank you again for the opportunity to work through this issue in regular order. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Thank you and I yield back.