Last week the House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which also contained provisions (1) repealing certain existing CFTC authority to set speculative position limits (click here to access the eliminated provisions: 7 US Code § 6a (2), (3), (5) and (6)) and, instead, requires the Commission to make an express finding of necessity prior to imposing and implementing any new limits; (2) expanding the definition of bona fide hedging to include transactions appropriate to the management of current or anticipated risks; and (3) freezing the current swap dealer de minimis threshold at US $8 billion absent affirmative action by the CFTC undertaken by rule or regulation. (Click here for background on the de minimis threshold in the article “CFTC Formally Delays Swap Dealer De Minimis Threshold Decrease” in the October 16, 2016 edition of Bridging the Week.) Congress previously granted the CFTC authority to expand position limits as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; however the extent of the CFTC's authority was previously subject to litigation. (Click here for background in the article, "CFTC Proposes New Position Limit Rules: Addresses Absolute Limits of 28 Core Futures Products, Aggregation, and Bona Fide Hedging" in the November 5, 2013 edition of Between Bridges; click here to access the relevant DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision.) The bill – entitled "The Commodity End-User Relief Act" – also precludes the Commission from requiring persons to provide it with algorithmic trading source code or similar intellectual property except through subpoena. In addition, the bill appears to authorize the firing of Division heads without cause by the Commission and requires the CFTC, within 18 months of adoption of the House bill as law, to adopt a rule providing that any non-US person or any transaction between two non-US persons to be exempt from US swaps requirements if the person or transaction is in compliance with the swaps regulatory requirements of a foreign jurisdiction that the CFTC has determined to be comparable to and as comprehensive as US requirements. The bill also instructs the CFTC not to enforce its recently implemented ownership and control reporting requirements until it enacts a new rule that raises the reporting level to at least 300 contracts and provides that a reporting entity is not required to provide natural person control data. (Click here for background on the CFTC’s new concept of trading account controller in the article “New Form 40 Obligations to Begin November 18 – Be Prepared” in the November 6, 2016 edition of Bridging the Week.) Under the House's bill, the CFTC would operate under the same budget – US $250 million – for the current and next four fiscal years. Separately, the House also passed a reform bill for the Securities and Exchange Commission entitled the "SEC Regulatory Accountability Act." Under this bill, the SEC would be required to expressly identify any specific problem that a proposed regulation was intended to address; formally consider whether the benefits of a proposed regulation would exceed its costs; and consider any alternatives to a proposed regulation.