Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement during a full Committee hearing entitled, “The Semi-Annual Report of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.”
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good morning, and welcome Director Chopra.
I am so pleased that we’re here this morning to share with us the success and all of the good that your group has been doing.
As we predicted, instead of focusing on how we can strengthen consumer protections, avoid a catastrophic default, or create jobs, Republicans are focused on undermining the CFPB, the only federal agency with a singular mission of protecting consumers.
As we speak, extreme MAGA Republicans are teaming up with predatory payday lenders to challenge the constitutionality of the CFPB’s funding in the Supreme Court based on a fringe legal theory. Every single other court that has affirmed the validity of CFPB’s funding, but just like MAGA Republicans who continue to deny election results, they are continuing to deny these facts also. So let me state the facts simply. The Constitution is clear—Congress can fund the executive branch, including the CFPB, banking regulators and other agencies however it likes, and has done so for nearly 250 years. This attack on the CFPB is yet another destructive effort by Republicans to undermine all types of government programs, including and especially Social Security, Medicare and a lot else. Let’s take a look at last month, I was proud to lead an amicus brief with 144 current and former Members of Congress, supporting the CFPB against this reckless challenge.
Republicans are also advancing legislation to undermine the operations of the CFPB. These efforts are a direct attack on consumers and the safeguards that protect them in our nation’s ever-evolving financial system.
Despite these attacks, the CFPB’s record under Director Chopra speaks for itself. CFPB has successfully combatted junk fees, relieved the burden of medical debt on consumers’ credit reports, fought back against housing discrimination and redlining, and held large financial institutions – like Wells Fargo – accountable for repeatedly breaking the law and harming people across America.
In fact, the CFPB has returned more than $17 billion to 200 million harmed consumers. That’s why 80% of people, including 75% of Republicans, support the CFPB and want the agency to continue its job. Republicans should start listening to their constituents, who can tell them what a junk fee is and explain why they need to support this critical agency’s work.
Additionally, the CFPB’s new small business lending rule, implementing Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank, will go a long way to finally root out discrimination in small business lending. It will open up new funding opportunities to help small businesses start up, grow, and thrive. It will do this in part by tracking data on minority- and women-owned businesses, as well as LGBTQ+ owned businesses, which we are especially focused on during PRIDE month. Democrats will reject Republican efforts to use the Congressional Review Act to eliminate this long overdue rule.
While Republicans refuse to stand up for consumers, including LGBTQ+ small business owners, they continue to protect the interests of large corporations and predatory payday lenders. Democrats, on the other hand, will continue to fight for all consumers, as we have done since we created the CFPB more than a decade ago.
Thank you, and I yield back.