In opening remarks during today’s semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, lauded the Federal Reserve Chair’s cautious approach to raising rates and her work to increase economic inclusion. Waters touted the actions taken by the Fed, the Administration and Democrats in Congress, which have led to “the longest-ever streak of private-sector job growth, rising home price, and overall gains in household wealth.”
In her remarks, Waters also denounced Republican efforts to put monetary policy on auto-pilot and undermine Dodd-Frank, risking another financial crisis.
Waters’ statement, as prepared for delivery, is below:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you Chair Yellen for joining us today.
Under your leadership, we have seen a Federal Reserve that cares about American workers and families, and has made tremendous progress on their behalf. While the Fed’s work may seem abstract to many people, it in fact has a profound impact on our day-to-day lives: from determining the rates we pay on loans to ensuring that Wall Street never again puts taxpayers at risk.
Thanks to actions taken by the Fed, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress, we’ve come a long way since the financial crisis wiped out trillions of dollars in household wealth. We can see this in the longest-ever streak of private-sector job growth, rising home prices, and overall gains in household wealth.
Yet I remain concerned that despite these gains, our recovery remains incomplete and our progress has been uneven, particularly as it affects our middle-class workers, low-income families, and minority communities. When you look at wages, broader measures of unemployment, and the most recent jobs numbers, it is clear that too many Americans have been left behind.
That’s why I am pleased you have taken a cautious approach to raising rates and have dedicated significant personal energy to increasing economic inclusion. It shows that you are listening to the needs of everyone – not just the well connected – and I encourage you to continue down this path.
Of course, Congress must take responsibility for these disparities as well. Too many years of fiscal austerity have robbed our economy of its full potential. And now, we are seeing the culmination of Republican efforts to kill Dodd-Frank, putting our economy back at risk of another crisis. In addition to the Chairman’s “Wrong Choice Act,” Republicans have filed over 30 amendments to the Financial Services appropriations bill that would undermine financial reform.
Before closing, I would like to highlight tomorrow’s vote in Britain, which serves as the latest reminder of why we must preserve the Fed’s independence and ability to set monetary policy on a forward-looking basis. No rule or formula could adequately account for such unpredictability, which is why foolish proposals that seek to put monetary policy on auto-pilot must be rejected.
I look forward to your testimony and yield back.