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Ranking Member Waters Delivers Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement at a full Committee markup.

Good morning. Today, this Committee is marking up six bills, including four bills that Committee Democrats and Republicans have crafted together to defend our national security. My bill, the “No Russian Agriculture Act,” would help decrease global reliance on Russian agriculture while also strengthening resiliency to food scarcity from Russia’s unlawful war in Ukraine.

The “Stop Fentanyl Money Laundering Act of 2023,” led by Representatives Pettersen and Luetkemeyer, will crack down on fentanyl trafficking, particularly from China. The “Financial Technology Protection Act,” led by Representatives Himes and Nunn will combat the abuse of new financial technologies for terrorism and other illicit activities. And the “Exposing China’s Support for the Taliban Act,” led by Representatives Lynch and Nunn, will examine the economic collaboration between China and Afghanistan’s Taliban-ruled government.

While I am pleased that this Committee will vote on these important bipartisan bills, I am disappointed that Republicans have made the unilateral decision to move forward with a massive market structure bill to rewrite our nation’s investor protection laws. This bill heeds the calls from the crypto industry while disregarding the views of the Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and consumer and investor advocates. As I have said before, we don’t need to invent new regulatory structures simply because crypto companies refuse to follow rules of the road. Our securities laws have protected investors and retirees for 90 years while supporting capital formation and facilitating innovation. Crypto firms should follow the law, and we should address the narrow gaps identified by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the SEC, and the GAO.

Let me review some of my biggest concerns with this bill.

First, this bill fails to adequately fund the creation and maintenance of the complex new regulatory framework it envisions.

Second, while the purported purpose of this bill is to provide greater regulatory clarity, it would actually create more confusion.

Third, consumers and investors will have fewer protections than they have today under the existing securities laws.

Finally, this bill creates loopholes that would allow traditional financial institutions to exploit and escape existing requirements.

In sum, this bill is the wish-list of big crypto and is undeserving of any of our support. This is why I call this bill the "Not Fit for the 21st Century Act” and I will be calling on Members to treat it just like that.

So, in closing, I would like to note that for years, the Chair and I have maintained various informal agreements to facilitate good working relationships between us, our Members, and our staff. This includes an agreement to provide at least seven days advance notice of any bills that are slated to be marked up. I recognize that these are not rules but they are informal agreements that my staff and I worked hard to comply with when we were in the Majority. For this markup, the Majority fell short of this agreement, and staff and Members on this side of the aisle have had to work harder than usual to get up to speed on the bills we are considering today and tomorrow as well. I would urge the Chair to be mindful of this, and other informal agreements that we have between us, to promote a healthy working relationship moving forward.

Mr. Chairman, I agree with you that we have been working very hard together. The negotiations have been going on for over a year on stablecoins. We have gotten very close, [but] there are issues – some unexpected – that have risen, and so your decision today to continue negotiating and continue looking at the possibility of stablecoins is something that I welcome. I am hopeful that some of the issues that have caused us to be in the situation today are issues that we really got to get a lot of input on from our Members, including their thoughts and [continue to] advise about it. With that I yield back and thank you very much.


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