Today, we will consider a set of legislative proposals designed to improve our nation’s capital markets, which continue to be the envy of the world. One important and long-overdue bill we will consider will provide investors in Puerto Rico with the same critical investor protections as other American investors. Other bills on the agenda support capital formation, particularly for small businesses and promising startups.
Most of the bills before us are the product of healthy collaboration and dialogue and I’d like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together to craft common-sense changes to our securities laws. As I have said before, it is critical that our capital markets system is balanced - providing adequate investor protections to ensure market integrity, while also allowing for robust capital formation. After all, it is ultimately the investors who provide the capital needed for our businesses to grow and thrive.
However, I am concerned that by rushing these bills to markup, we are denying our 14 new Members on the Committee, and the millions of Americans they represent, the opportunity to fully understand the issues through hearings. While I appreciate the efforts of the Committee on these matters during past Congresses, it is important that we all make the most informed decisions possible.
To that end, I’d like to point out several more pressing issues to support our economy under the Committee’s jurisdiction that deserve and require our immediate attention.
We need to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire this year.
We need to reform our nation’s broken consumer credit reporting system.
And, we need to address homelessness. Mr. Chairman, I am going to keep repeating this point over and over again. There are over half a million homeless people in America today. Over one-fifth of the people experiencing homelessness are children and nearly 7 percent are veterans. There is simply no excuse for this Committee to continue to ignore these Americans.
Moreover, while today’s markup shows that we are able to work together to achieve bipartisan consensus, I question whether we have the whole story on the Majority’s plans for these capital markets issues. Versions of these bills, which are different from the versions we will be marking up today, have been reported to be in the new version of the Chairman’s Wrong Choice Act. So I am concerned about which versions of these bills will be moving to the floor.
Again, I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together on these bills and I hope, Mr. Chairman, that this markup shows that we are going to be moving forward, not backward on the progress we’ve made.