|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, May 11, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following statement today at a news conference with Sen. Dick Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, regarding the two committees' efforts to reauthorize the Commodity Exchange Act:
"In the past, having the Banking Committee and the Agriculture Committee work together in a cooperative effort has been like getting two people to use the same toothbrush. There has been a reluctance to do it, and we have not been successful in doing it in the past.
"We are cooperating today because the goose that lays the golden egg – America's financial markets – is beginning to be attracted to a new potential perch in Europe. We invented futures in America. We dominated the marketplace. We sold all but a handful of futures in the early days.
"Today, the market in Europe is larger than the market in Chicago. Among the reasons is that the European market has a more effective regulatory structure, it has lower costs, and it has moved to electronic exchanges quickly.
"Senator Lugar and I have gotten together because we need to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. We need to change the rules.
"The Shad-Johnson Accord, when it was entered into, made sense. But the world is different today, and the time has come for us to allow new financial products to sell on American exchanges.
"For too long, we have had legal uncertainty about over-the-counter derivatives. We want to solve this problem for once and for all. We want to give legal certainty to this market and to its products. These products are valued in the trillions of dollars. This is of mega importance to American industry and agriculture, and that legal certainty needs to be provided.
"Finally, we need to reduce regulatory burden if we want more jobs in America. We have 200,000 jobs in Chicago directly related to the financial industry. The number in New York is several times that.
"If we want to continue to dominate the financial markets, if we want this goose to continue to live in America, we're going to have to fill the pond back up, start scattering corn and chain up the dog named regulation that has been chasing this goose around the barnyard.
"The rewards for doing this are very, very high. We have tremendous technological changes underway, and America can lead in these changes, but we have to do our part. So Senator Lugar and I have put together an agreement.
"I am confident that we will have a bill. It's going to be hard in an election year to pass it, but I believe we can pass it. And we're going to do everything that we can to see that it's the law of the land."