UPDATE 3-CFTC's Sommers expects limits plan to move forward

Thu Jan 6, 2011 1:27pm EST

 * Plan could advance before next public meeting on Jan. 13
 * Finalizing Dodd-Frank rules will be challenging-Sommers
 * Hard for CFTC to implement rules without new hires
 * Senate Democrats will work to boost funding-Durbin
 (Adds Sommers quotes, background, quote from Sen. Durbin)
 By Christopher Doering and Roberta Rampton
 WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Commodity Futures Trading
Commission likely has enough votes to advance a proposal to
limit speculative positions in commodity markets to the next
stage, said Jill Sommers, a Republican commissioner, in an
interview with Reuters Insider.
 The CFTC introduced its long-awaited plan to quell
speculation for the metals, agriculture and energy markets on
Dec. 16, but postponed a vote on releasing it for public
comment because of internal dissent among the agency's five
commissioners.
 Sommers, a critic of the regulators' efforts on position
limits, said the plan could be approved by commissioners "in
seriatim" -- where it passes from one commissioner to the next
for their votes -- before their next public meeting on Jan. 13.
She said the plan has not yet come to her for a vote.
 "I don't know the timing on it. I am third in line to
actually sign the seriatim, and it has not arrived in my
office," Sommers said.
 "Sometimes those things happen within a day, sometimes it
takes a week."
 <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 Reuters Insider interview with Sommers:
 link.reuters.com/bur84r
 ANALYSIS-Limits may pass quietly        [ID:nN20150677]
 FACTBOX-Details of the rules proposed   [ID:nN09137318]
 Take a Look on CFTC's push for new limits: [ID:nCFTCREG]
 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
 The contentious rule is part of the sweeping Dodd-Frank
bank reform bill, the biggest financial regulatory overhaul
since the Great Depression.
 The CFTC needs to write 30 to 40 detailed regulations to
implement its share of the law, which gives the CFTC oversight
of the over-the-counter derivatives market, valued at $600
trillion globally.
 Earlier this week, Bart Chilton -- the most vocal proponent
at the CFTC for cracking down on speculators in commodities --
said he had lifted his objections to the plan, paving the way
for approval.
 The CFTC has conceded it will miss a mid-January deadline
to implement position limits that was stipulated in the law.
 UP NEXT: MORE CHALLENGES
 Sommers said the next phase of the CFTC's Dodd-Frank
rule-making process -- where it must consider public comments
and finalize rules -- will be more challenging for the agency,
and commissioners will need more time to absorb the details.
 "Getting those rules into a place where they are final and
they are in a place where everyone is comfortable is going to
be hard," she told Reuters.
 She also said it will be difficult for the CFTC to
implement rules without hiring new staff. The agency has not
yet received a 50 percent hike in its budget from Congress that
it needs to add staff to its ranks.
 "Right now, we are using our current staff to not only do
their day jobs -- surveilling the market, looking at clearing
and intermediaries -- but they're also writing rules," she
said.
 "These people are working day and night to be able to get
things done."
 Republican lawmakers, who now control the House of
Representatives, have said they want to review regulatory
expansion plans and slow reforms passed by Democrats last year.
[ID:nN03276473]
 But Democrats who control the Senate will try to make sure
regulators get the funding they need, assistant Senate
Democratic leader Dick Durbin told reporters on Thursday.
 "If the Republicans starve the (Securities and Exchange
Commission) and CFTC out of the funds they need to properly
oversee the activities on Wall Street and other exchanges, it
is going to diminish our reputation in the world," he said.
 (Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Lisa
Shumaker)