Today, at a House Financial Services Committee markup of 23 bills, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement:
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I must admit I’m disappointed that the Committee is moving forward today with marking up a large number of bills that could be harmful to consumers, investors and our economy.
Indeed, several of the bills before us today are pieces of the Chairman’s catastrophically bad Wrong Choice Act. Others are different bills that repeal or weaken still other parts of Wall Street reform.
Republicans appear to be obsessed with rolling back important policies Democrats put in place in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Today, the slate of legislation includes bills to undermine mortgage protections, weaken bank stress tests, reduce capital requirements for the largest banks, and limit the Federal Reserve’s ability to respond to a financial crisis. One bill even rolls back a Dodd-Frank provision that requires mining companies to include information in their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosures about mine safety and health violations, orders, citations, legal actions, and mining-related fatalities.
Democrats passed Dodd-Frank into law to prevent another catastrophic financial crisis and to protect consumers, investors and our economy. The financial crisis wiped out 13 trillion dollars in household wealth. The unemployment rate hit 10 percent. 11 million people lost their homes. It was an economic cataclysm that is still fresh in the memories of hardworking Americans everywhere, and it must never be allowed to happen again.
Mr. Chairman, pushing the pieces of the Wrong Choice Act one at a time does not make them any more acceptable or any less harmful to the American public. Democrats will not allow Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to pave the way back to the bad old days of the financial crisis by stripping away key financial protections. I’d like to remind my colleagues across the aisle who are desperate to do favors for Wall Street that banks are doing just fine since the passage of Dodd-Frank. In fact, last year they posted record profits and they are lending to businesses at pre-crisis levels.
There are so many pressing items that this Committee should be devoting its attention to instead of misguided and harmful giveaways to Wall Street. For example, we have a homelessness crisis in this country. It is truly disgraceful that there are over 500,000 individuals living in the streets in America, and Congress must take action to address this problem. There is also a pressing need to make comprehensive reforms to our nation’s broken credit reporting system, especially in the wake of the massive Equifax data breach. And it is also time for Congress to ensure that abusive megabanks, like Wells Fargo, which have made a routine practice of ripping off and preying on their customers, face real consequences for patterns of egregious behavior and violations of the law.
It is essential that we take up legislation that will benefit and not harm hardworking Americans, small businesses and our economy.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.