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Heading into August, Waters Blasts Committee’s Unfinished Business

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Washington, DC, July 29, 2014 | comments

At the last markup before the Congress breaks for August recess, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking  Member of the Financial Services Committee, criticized Republicans for wasting time while a number of major issues remain unresolved.

The full Committee markup included six bills, the majority of which would be harmful to consumers and the economy. They include measures that would hamstring the Federal Reserve, water down important consumer protections in Dodd-Frank, place additional administrative burdens on our financial regulators that would open them up to endless litigation, and make controversial changes to a program that provides housing assistance for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, among others.

In her opening statement, Waters called out Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling for refusing to push two important items that will expire this year – the renewal of the Export-Import Bank’s charter, and the extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. Waters pointed out that upon the return of Congress in September, only 10 legislative days will be left before the Bank’s charter expires on September 30.

Waters also blasted the Committee’s reluctance to hold hearings on critical issues, such as the War on Poverty, the impact of the foreclosure crisis, the independent foreclosure review process, money laundering, and a wide array of consumer issues.

Her opening statement is below:

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Today we consider six measures related to the Federal Reserve, Dodd-Frank, housing and financial institutions.

Mr. Chairman, this will be the last Committee markup before we go into a five week Congressional recess. But our work here is far from complete.

I’m not pleased that as we prepare to depart, two important matters that fall under this Committee’s jurisdiction – the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and the renewal of the Export-Import Bank’s charter – remain unresolved. I’m disappointed that months of inaction and disagreement within the Republican party has created uncertainty for businesses, workers, and our economy as a whole.

On September 30th, the Export-Import Bank’s charter will expire, shuttering an institution that creates or sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs and, over the last five years, has supported $233 billion dollars in U.S. exports.

Only last month did this Committee have its first hearing on the Bank’s 2014 reauthorization – and it’s not clear there will be any more in the future.

One thing that was clear from last month’s hearing, however, is that many Republicans on this Committee support renewing the Bank’s charter. I was pleased to hear so many speak eloquently about Ex-Im’s positive impact on job creation, economic growth and competitiveness for businesses in their districts.

Mr. Chairman, when we return in September, there will be just 10 legislative days left before the Bank’s charter expires. Failing to renew it would deal a significant blow to our economy – and have a detrimental impact on the thousands of American companies trying to compete against businesses in China, Russia, Korea and countless countries across Europe – all of which have their own version of the Ex-Im Bank.

The second piece of unfinished business is the renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). Created following the 9/11 attacks, TRIA is critically important to ensure terrorism insurance remains available and affordable. And it too has fostered continued economic development across the U.S., creating jobs and growing the economy.
 
Like with Ex-Im, TRIA is one of those rare programs supported by Democrats and Republicans, as well as a wide array of businesses and industries. And that’s why I am so disappointed by Republican unwillingness to make changes to its harmful TRIA Reform Act, which is so extreme it cannot garner a majority of the House to support it.  As a result, I believe we should immediately bring legislation that recently passed the Senate in a near-unanimous, 93-4 vote to the House floor today.

Mr. Chairman, as we all head home to meet with our constituents, these outstanding items remain glaring examples of a Republican Do-Nothing Agenda.

But they are not the only ones.

To date, this Committee has not had one hearing on the War on Poverty. No hearings on the impact of the foreclosure crisis on American families or the independent foreclosure review process, which impacted over 4 million households. And no hearings on money laundering – an important issue that continues to go unaddressed.

We've seen virtually no action on issues impacting consumers –  credit reporting and medical debt have been ignored. And instead of a broader focus on the private sector data breaches affecting hundreds of millions of consumer accounts, this Committee’s Republicans have made undermining consumer protection its top priority – through a continued, sustained campaign against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And today’s markup continues the Do Nothing Agenda. Today we will waste more time and energy on ideological and unrealistic measures, such as the so-called “FRAT Act” a harmful measure that will cripple the Federal Reserve’s ability to promote growth, stabilize the economy and, in times of extraordinary crisis, take decisive action to avoid an economic collapse.

Mr. Chairman, when we return I hope we can get back to work on measures that actually sustain jobs, grow the economy, protect consumers and provide stability in our financial system.

Thank you, I yield back.

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