Following news that Committee Republicans plan to eliminate the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee first established by then-Chairwoman Waters in 2019, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement:
“I am deeply disappointed and disturbed to hear that Committee Republicans plan to eliminate the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee. When I assumed the chair in 2019, one of my first moves was to establish this subcommittee in an effort to add greater scrutiny to the financial services industry, which for so long, has been overwhelmingly White and male. Under my leadership and the incredible leadership of former Subcommittee Chair Joyce Beatty, Committee Democrats did just that. Through Congress’ first-ever subcommittee of its kind, we held historic hearings and authored ground-breaking reports that provided unprecedented transparency and accountability to America’s largest financial institutions. Our efforts to combat inequities in America’s financial services systems including wealth inequality, gender and racial wage gaps, and high poverty rates ushered in major wins for women, communities of color, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses. Not to mention, we finally put a spotlight on the challenges facing persons with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and justice-involved individuals.
“The truth is our nation and financial services industry is better because of this subcommittee. Still, we are far from an equitable society, and there is so much work and oversight left to do. It’s a shame that Committee Republicans no longer find it important enough to continue. In fact, their pledge to make diversity a component of each sub-panel is simply insufficient. We know that a diversity and inclusion strategy with no tangible goals, accountability measures, or a senior point of contact, rarely leads to significant impact. Corporate America has recognized the need for institutionalizing and centralizing diversity and inclusion by establishing Chief Diversity Officers within their ranks and creating offices and infrastructure around these high-ranking individuals. Without a subcommittee with an intentional focus on diversity and inclusion, this important issue will get lost in the shuffle and Committee Republicans will move through the 118th Congress unaware of the current challenges and opportunities facing women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“My Democratic colleagues and I will continue to hold our Republican colleagues accountable, and do the work to make sure diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of our agenda because as we’ve proven these past four years, diversity matters, and we will not be silent on this important topic.”