Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement during a full Committee markup.
Good morning. On October 7th, Hamas launched a deadly attack against the people of Israel, resulting in the death of more than 1,400 Israelis, as well as over 30 Americans. I again condemn Hamas for this horrible and deadly attack and I recognize that there were many civilians in that 1400 who lost their lives. Over the last month, we’ve seen as Israel tries to eliminate Hamas and wage war. Thousands of innocent Palestinians, including children and babies, are also being killed. This must stop. Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe that unless we are able to stop this war that is being waged, that Hezbollah and Iran may get into this war which would draw the United States into it, and I think that would be a horrible decision for everyone involved. This is why I’ve called for a ceasefire and believe there must be immediate and sufficient humanitarian support for civilians, amid ongoing negotiations for the release of all hostages.
I want to acknowledge the Biden Administration’s work in responding to this crisis and in defending democracies across the world. When so many of our allies are in need, President Biden has stood strong, traveling to two separate active conflicts to show American commitment. In fact, later this morning Biden’s Treasury will impose new sanctions on Hamas leaders and their facilitators, and importantly, in conjunction with the United Kingdom.
House Republicans, for their part, have ignored requests for aid, bickering among themselves and playing politics with America’s national security. Today, we have a mix of bills, some of which are bipartisan and could achieve the objectives that they aim to address. But this markup has little meaning when the MAGA Republicans again threaten a government shutdown, which only fails our allies, democracy, and the American people.
Among the bills offered today:
- My bill, “Stopping Illicit Oil Shipments Act of 2023,” which would crack down on the ghost ships that disguise the transport of sanctioned oil from Iran and Russia;
- The “OFAC Licensure for Investigators Act,” led by Congresswoman Beatty, which would start a Treasury pilot program that could improve visibility for investigators who “follow the money;”
- And the “Armed Conflict Migration Act of 2023,” led by Congressman Cleaver, which would direct the Treasury to use its voice and vote at the IMF and World Bank and other development banks to provide financial assistance to countries that receive an influx of displaced Palestinians stemming from the war in Gaza. Nobody should experience displacement from their home, but to the extent that families must flee to safety, we must find ways to help them wherever we can and whenever we can.
I am also pleased to be supportive of some of the Republican bills that we’re considering today. There is a strong, bipartisan desire to send a clear signal that terrorism, from Iran’s support of Hamas and Hezbollah to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine will not be tolerated.
That is why it is disappointing that my Republican colleagues have decided to also move forward on some problematic bills that defy our values, reverse decades of bipartisan foreign policy, and in one case, would even harm American, small-business exporters.
We are here today after three weeks without a Speaker, a self-made GOP crisis that left the House incapable of responding to the multiple crises. And there is now uncertainty about the future of the bills we are marking up today, as we approach yet another potential government shutdown. Republicans’ claims of being tough on Iran and terrorism ring hollow when they refuse to support funding for our allies and are instigating a shutdown that will shutter OFAC, FinCEN and most of Treasury, which are tasked with enforcing sanctions against Iran, Hamas, Russia, China, and terrorist organizations around the world. Defending democracy, at both home and abroad, as well as a compassionate concern for the most vulnerable should be ideals that we hold true as Americans. I hope my colleagues today will live up to those ideals once more.
I yield back.