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Ranking Member Waters Delivers Opening Statement at Full Committee SEC Hearing: “... I Can’t Believe That This Committee is Rushing to Take Off More Guardrails When We Should Be Adding Them.”

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

As prepared for delivery

Good morning and welcome, Chair Gensler. 

Right now, our financial system is still recovering from the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, our nation’s affordable housing crisis is worsening, and we are on the brink of a Republican-imposed debt default that will create unprecedented and untold levels of harm to the United States and global economy. But unfortunately, today’s hearing is not focused on addressing any of these looming crises.

Instead, we are here this morning because last Congress, Republicans threatened to do a big number on the SEC and Chair Gensler, and today is the start of them making good on that promise. This playbook isn’t new – Committee Democrats and the American public have seen it all before. Under the first Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director, Richard Cordray, Republicans worked around the clock to harass the agency with sham investigations, baseless subpoenas, and nonstop hearings, all in hopes of delaying or impeding the important work of the agency.

This is the same exact strategy they plan to use on the SEC, and unfortunately, everyday people will pay the price. The SEC has on average provided over twice the legally required time for comment on its proposals to strengthen Wall Street’s rules, and yet Republicans still claim that things are still moving too fast, and are joining industry’s efforts to attempt to delay these long overdue reforms. For example, Republicans are desperately trying to hamper the finalization of the SEC’s rule on climate-based disclosures, which will finally provide the material information that investors have been asking for to evaluate how their investments will fare as climate change worsens. The SEC is also working to finalize rules to implement major market structure reforms that would increase transparency, promote competition, and address issues that arose during the GameStop events and identified by investigations this Committee led. Additionally, the SEC has proposed rules to require greater transparency for private equity and hedge funds, which are opaque even though they have significant impacts on our economy and society. These reforms are not being rushed—they are long overdue and this Committee held several hearings and considered legislation addressing all of these issues.  

Meanwhile, Republicans are eager to rush forward with measures that would deregulate our capital markets. We just witnessed what Trump’s deregulation means in the banking sector and financial stability as the collapse of SVB and Signature Bank threatened confidence across the banking system. I can’t believe that this Committee is rushing to take off more guardrails when we should be adding them. 

I would also like to applaud Chair Gensler and his staff for the forceful actions the SEC has taken and dedicated more resources to go after crypto criminals. This is a stark difference from the hands-off approach that the Republican SEC Chair took to mass non-compliance in crypto. In fact, under Chair Gensler the SEC has nearly doubled the size of the unit responsible for protecting investors in crypto markets and from cyber-related threats. Since the recent bank failures and the fall of FTX and various crypto platforms bankruptcies, it’s more important than ever that the SEC has the resources it needs to go after non-compliance and ensure capital markets serve the broad interests of the people of this country.  

I am eager to continue supporting your work, addressing any gaps in our laws, and providing needed oversight of the important mission of the SEC. 

With that, I yield back.


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