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Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Delivers Opening Statement During Full Committee Markup: “Republicans Are Proposing Bills That Prove They Are All Talk When It Comes to Combatting Our Nation’s Worsening Affordable Housing and Homelessness Crisis.”

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.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Good morning. Today, this Committee is marking up five bills, including my bill, as you just mentioned the “Wildfire Insurance Coverage Study Act.” Climate change is making wildfires much more devastating and deadly, including in my home state of California, and unfortunately right now in Texas and Oklahoma – where whole communities are being destroyed by wildfires. At the same time, insurance companies are declining coverage, and while I understand that insurance companies cannot calculate the cost of the potential of these disasters, I believe that Congress needs to think about what we need to do to help prepare and protect families and small businesses.

However, once again Mr. Chairman, we are on the brink of another government shutdown that could block Federal support to Americans. Today we will once again vote to kick the can down the road, one more week, and be forced to watch for another week as the utter disfunction of the Republican House majority further undermines stability in our democracy and puts our nation’s consumers and economy at great risk.

And in this Committee, we are also going to consider a resolution that will put our economy at risk by gutting the SEC’s ability to protect investors and clear up confusion for industry. This resolution would rescind SEC’s Staff Accounting Bulletin 121, or S-A-B 121. This bulletin is non-binding SEC staff guidance intended to help clarify how a company should account for its customers’ cryptocurrencies. We often hear Republicans and the crypto industry complain about a lack of clarity from the SEC, but ironically, the resolution before us effectively blocks the SEC staff from providing that clarity around crypto.

What’s more, Republicans are proposing bills that prove that they are all talk when it comes to combatting our nation’s worsening affordable housing and homelessness crisis. I am deeply disappointed that while over 653,000 people experience homelessness every night and millions more are just one crisis away from becoming homeless, the only solution Republicans have is to require the HUD Secretary and the Inspector General to testify annually. Time and time again, Republicans have proven that they would rather point the finger at everyone else than put forward serious legislation to address the crisis themselves. In fact, their abysmal report on housing proves this.

For example, so far, the only housing bill they have moved since being in the majority is a bill that makes homeownership more expensive. In comparison, last Congress under my leadership as Chair, we passed 12 housing bills into law. These laws helped millions of people find housing, remain stably housed, and avoid eviction and foreclosure. But more is needed.

If my colleagues are serious about solving this crisis like they say they are, then this Committee should move immediately to consider the three pieces of legislation I and my Democratic colleagues have introduced, including the “Housing Crisis Response Act,” the “Ending Homelessness Act,” and the “Downpayment Toward Equity Act.” Together, these bills represent the single largest and most comprehensive investment in fair and affordable housing in U.S. history and will finally make housing a reality for everyone. In fact, many of the provisions in these bills respond to requests made by Republican witnesses during a field hearing in Mr. Lawler’s district last week, including to fund more Housing Choice Vouchers and provide incentives to private developers who build fair and affordable housing. The time is now to work together to do what our communities sent us here to do.

With that, I yield back.


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