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Waters Calls For Focus on Serious Issues

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Washington, DC, April 8, 2014 | comments
At today’s Financial Services Committee hearing with regulatory officials to discuss “government red tape,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded regulators for putting the financial system on more stable footing after the worst economic crisis in a generation, and criticized the majority for continuing to push an ideologically-driven agenda focused on deregulation.

Waters also criticized Republicans for continuing to avoid real, serious issues that need the immediate attention of the Committee, issues that grow our economy and create jobs. These include the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, both of which are critical to ensuring certainty for businesses. Waters pointed out these measures have widespread, bipartisan support – including Republican members of the Financial Services Committee.

Her full statement is below. 

As prepared for delivery:

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Just days before Congress is set to leave town for a two week Congressional Recess, here we are again, attacking regulators for their efforts to repair the damage caused by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. 

This hearing is nothing more than the latest chance for the majority to air its ideologically driven, deregulatory agenda. And it is a continuation of the Republican quest for extreme and unreasonable cost-benefit requirements – which do nothing more than undercut the ability of our regulators to do their jobs.  How quickly my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have forgotten the loss of millions of American jobs and trillions of dollars of household wealth caused by inadequate regulation. 

Mr. Chairman, the simple fact is that the majority’s cost-benefit requirements would impose additional costs on our regulators and expand government bureaucracy. I find it ironic that we are participating in a hearing to examine government “red tape,” while many of my Republican colleagues are pushing measures that would only serve to increase it. It is unfortunate that this Committee continues to consider these measures – which are becoming a not-so-veiled effort to roll back the significant accomplishments of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act – while ignoring a number of important policy matters that need our attention now.

We know the crisis was caused by dramatic failures of corporate governance and risk-management at large, globally interconnected financial firms.  We also know that excessive borrowing, risky investments, and a lack of transparency throughout the financial system put us on the path to crisis.

Although Washington had a role to play – it certainly was not because regulators erred on the side of over regulation.  

Despite their collective failure to see the crisis coming before it was too late – the financial regulatory agencies represented before us today should be commended for their effort that has already put our financial system on more stable footing.  Regulators have made important progress by enhancing risk monitoring and heightening capital standards at the largest, most complex banks and non-bank financial companies.  They have also increased cooperation and information sharing among regulators of banks and non-bank financial companies. And they have enhanced the transparency and protections afforded to consumers and investors. 

Our regulators have also taken action to ease the regulatory burden for small banks and financial institutions by providing targeted relief. I am looking forward to what the witnesses will say about actions to continue helping these small and community-based entities.

As the number of legislative days continues to dwindle, I sincerely hope that we can come together on the important issues that merit our serious attention.  Rather than accuse “Washington” of restricting “economic freedom” we should be taking up bills that grow our economy and create good jobs for U.S. workers. Mr. Chairman, this includes reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program. Acting on these important measures now is imperative to ensure businesses have the certainty they need to invest in the economy. They both help create and sustain American jobs – and have widespread, bipartisan support – including a number of Republican members of this Committee. 

These are issues that desperately need our attention. And while we know they need to be addressed very soon – this Committee has thus far simply refused to do so. 

Thank you, I yield back.

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