The Senate Banking Committee announced this week that it would hold a hearing on March 15 to consider the nominations of Lisa Fairfax and Hester Peirce to the Securities and Exchange Commission. President Obama nominated the pair in October 2015. The democratic members of the Committee wrote a letter to the chair, Senator Richard Shelby, asking him to “clear the backlog” of the sixteen nominations currently pending before the committee, including the SEC Commissioner vacancies as well as other financial regulatory positions. The letter noted that the Committee had not acted on a single nominee in 2015.
Senator Shelby had previously stated that “I’m in a primary right now, so we’re in no hurry to hold hearings.” Shelby was referring to the Alabama Republican primary, held on March 1. In addition, he also stated that the committee would not act on any nominations until the President nominated a vice chairman for supervision at the Federal Reserve. The position has remained vacant in the five years since it was originally created by Dodd-Frank. There remains no nominee for the vacancy.
The President did, however, recently nominate Chris Brummer and Brian Quintenz to fill vacancies at the CFTC. Like the SEC, the CFTC has been operating with just three commissioners. Brummer is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center where he is the Faculty Director of the Institute of International Economic Law, and previously taught at Vanderbilt University Law Center and practiced law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Quintenz is the Managing Principal and Chief Investment Officer at Saeculum Capital Management, and previously held positions at Merrill Lynch’s Global Institutional Consulting Group, as an analyst at Hill-Townsend Capital, and as a senior policy aide to former Congresswoman Deborah Pryce. Reports state that the Agriculture Committee (which oversees the CFTC) will consider the nominations this spring.