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Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Delivers Opening Statement During 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.

Thank you, Chairman McHenry.

Good morning. Today, most of the bills we are marking up unfortunately are not only partisan, but also massively deregulatory, harmful to our nation’s consumers and investors, and do nothing to address one of the worst affordable housing and homelessness crises our nation has ever seen.

The American people have said that they want Congress to do more to strengthen the economy and lower costs for families. In response, extreme Marjorie Taylor Greene and MAGA Republicans are wasting our time with failed resolutions to kick out their own Speaker and bringing silly pieces of legislation to the floor with names I wish I was making up, like the “Liberty for Laundry Act, “Refrigerator Freedom Act,” and “Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act,” proving yet again that they are not serious about legislating.

Simultaneously, Committee Republicans are proposing legislation that would put our economy on a collision course with financial instability.

For instance, today, Committee Republicans are proposing a package that would weaken requirements established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to increase lending opportunities for small businesses, particularly those that are owned by women and people of color, who face persistent barriers to accessing the capital they need to start or grow their businesses. Given that small businesses are responsible for creating two-thirds of new jobs, this bill will stifle their growth and harm our economy.

I am so pleased to learn that just today the Supreme Court supported the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the source of their appropriation which is the Federal Reserve, which keeps them from being a political tool by the opposite side of the aisle in Republican attempts to defund them. They won’t have that opportunity thanks to the Supreme Court. I want you to know that we’re so proud of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They handle 3,000 complaints per day. They have returned $17.5 billion to our consumers, and I want you to know that they have contacted and worked with four million companies and sent the complaints over to the companies to help out consumers. So, I say this because I want the opposite side of the aisle to understand how important the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to all of our consumers.

However, Republicans also continue to prove that they’ve learned nothing from last year’s bank failures. The bills before us would allow large banks like Wells Fargo or Silicon Valley Bank to appeal and delay addressing compliance shortcomings identified by their examiners. These issues must be addressed immediately otherwise millions of consumers will be harmed and there will be more turmoil when these banks suddenly fail.

This package would also make it easier for bank regulators to rubber stamp proposed bank mergers and encourage regulators to ignore concerns from the public. Now on to housing. Republicans are proposing bills that outsource this Committee’s work and responsibilities while duplicating certain housing benefits for higher income veterans. Solving our nation’s worsening housing and homelessness crisis should be the number one priority of this Committee. Yet, Committee Republicans are ignoring this crisis and advocating for spending cuts that harm the stability and well-being of our nation’s veterans.

I am pleased, however, that we are considering Congressman Sherman’s bipartisan bill, the “Housing Unhoused Disabled Veterans Act,” which would ensure homeless veterans, including those who may have higher incomes, can access supportive housing through the HUD-VASH program, while preserving critical rental assistance for the lowest income homeless veterans. We also have the “Yes In My Backyard Act,” led by Representatives Kilmer and Flood, with Ranking Member Cleaver and Congresswoman Pettersen as original cosponsors. This bill is a welcome first step in the federal government’s efforts to track local progress in reforming restrictive zoning policies to increase housing supply. I hope we can work together to further strengthen the YIMBY Act.

Today, Republicans are also ramping up their anti-SEC agenda by proposing bills that would hamstring SEC staff’s ability to provide clarifying guidance to registrants; politicize non-controversial auditing standards; abandon investors in the event of a market disruption, gut systems in place to identify fraud and manipulation within the stock market; and leave investors in the dark about cybersecurity attacks that could significantly impact the companies they are invested in.

The contrast is clear. While Republicans destruct, destroy, and derail, Democrats continue to fight to strengthen our economy and put People over Politics. Mr. Chair, I urge you to withdraw these problematic bills so we can get back to the drawing board. I yield back..


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