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Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Delivers Opening Statement During Full Committee Hearing with Fed Chair Powell: “As House Republicans Continue to Disappoint, Committee Democrats are Offering Evidenced-Based Solutions to Keep a Fair and Affordable Housing Agenda as the Top Priority in Congress.”

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 Federal Reserve’s Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report.”

Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Good morning, everyone. Welcome back Chair Powell. While I am pleased by the progress the Fed and the Biden Administration have made to tackle inflation, we are not out of the woods yet. In fact, even though my Republican colleagues refuse to acknowledge this fact, housing is still the number one driver of inflation. Based on the latest data, housing costs continue to make up nearly 70 percent of overall price increases, outpacing modest wage gains.

This means that until we address the underlying housing supply shortage, Americans will continue to pay an increasing share of their income on housing, the affordability crisis will worsen, and inflation will remain too high.

With that said, it’s hard to understand why Republicans feign concern about the economy, when they’re unwilling to address the key driver of inflation, HOUSING. In fact, Republicans have only put forward legislation that makes things worse for millions of Americans, including moving legislation to slash funding for federal housing programs, including in rural America where homelessness is rising.

This abysmal record on housing is par for the course for Republicans. Since they’ve been in the majority, they’ve convened only six hearings on housing. On top of launching baseless impeachment efforts, censuring members, and pushing our government to the brink of multiple government shutdowns, it’s clear that Republicans are too focused on drama and chaos to deliver anything for the American people. That’s not how Democrats roll.

When I was Chair of the Committee during the 116th and 117th Congress, not only did we hold 55 hearings on housing, but I and my fellow Democrats enacted 12 critical housing bills into law in the last Congress alone that helped stymie a tsunami of evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness, keeping millions of people stably housed during and after the pandemic. Unlike Republicans, we don’t just talk about the issue – Democrats make law.

As House Republicans continue to disappoint, Committee Democrats are offering evidenced-based solutions to keep a fair and affordable housing agenda as the top priority in Congress. That’s why I and my Democratic colleagues reintroduced three groundbreaking bills to address the housing crisis and bring down inflation, once and for all. This includes the Housing Crisis Response Act, the Ending Homelessness Act, and the Downpayment Toward Equity Act.

Together, these bills would create nearly 1.4 million affordable, accessible, and resilient homes, reduce housing costs, end homelessness, and revive the American dream of homeownership for all. So, when my Republican colleagues are ready to get serious about our nation’s economy and inflation, Democrats are ready to work with you to pass these bills into law.

In fact, tomorrow at noon, I, Committee Democrats, and more than 30 housing advocates will join together at a press conference to share just how important ending the affordable housing crisis is to the state of our union. And so I invite all of my Republican colleagues who say they care about this issue to come and join us.

I look forward to discussing this critical issue with Chair Powell today, and I yield back my time.



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