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Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Delivers Opening Statement During Full Committee Hearing on SEC’s Climate Rule: “The Climate Crisis Affects the Financial Health of Public and Private Companies, and Investors Have a Right to Know How the Companies They Own are Responding to This Crisis.”

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, “Beyond Scope: How the SEC’s Climate Rule Threatens American Markets.”

Good morning. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last year was the hottest year on record. Mr. Chairman, climate change is real. It was with the realities of climate change in mind that the SEC finalized its long-awaited climate disclosure rule last month. This rulemaking is common sense. The climate crisis affects the financial health of public and private companies, and investors have a right to know how the companies they own are responding to this crisis. Unfortunately, MAGA Republicans don’t see it this way. Not only do they deny that climate change is real, but they also don’t want anyone else to acknowledge its reality either. My Republican colleagues want to block America’s investors from knowing key information about stocks and outright ban them from making sustainable investments.

Neither Congress nor our regulators can ignore the impact of the climate crisis on the financial system. In California, climate-change-induced wildfires are leading to insurance company withdrawals, premium spikes, cancellations, and other restrictions on coverage for people all across the state.

Nevertheless, MAGA Republicans downplay the climate crisis by inviting climate deniers as hearing witnesses and marking up legislation that prohibits regulators from mitigating such risks in our financial system.

So, despite the extreme MAGA effort to ban sustainable investing or “ESG,” Committee Democrats have been pushing the SEC to use its clear and long-standing tools to finalize and implement a strong climate rule to ensure investors receive the information they need.

I am disappointed that the SEC, under immense pressure from MAGA and their corporate donors, didn’t muster the political courage to adopt a bolder rule. Nevertheless, the SEC’s rule, once implemented, will establish a clear framework to standardize climate disclosures, and in this sense, it is historic and overdue.

Mr. Chairman, sustainable investing doesn’t just benefit investors. It’s also good for business and serves as a key element of capitalism – where investors get the opportunity to consider the true potential risks, rewards, and impacts of the investments they’re making.

Unfortunately, the SEC rule is being challenged by several well-funded special interests trying to eliminate it entirely. These groups have succeeded in forcing the SEC to pause its rule while they wait for the court to consider the lawsuits.

Stopping government action on climate change is consistent with the aims of Project 2025, Trump’s subversive and radical agenda to kill progress, prosperity, and freedoms in our country. The plan includes not just dismantling federal and state climate-related policies, but also gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, making clean air and drinking water a luxury in our time.

Committee Democrats will stand up to these attacks and make sure that people just trying to save for retirement or provide for their family have the information they need to make smart investment and economic decisions, and that Project 2025 never becomes a reality.

With that, I yield back.


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