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Waters Outlines Democratic Priorities during Oversight Markup

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Washington, DC, January 21, 2015 | comments

In remarks at the Financial Services Committee markup of its Oversight Plan, which is required by House rules to outline Committee work during the 114th session of Congress, Ranking Member Maxine Waters underscored some of her top priorities for the coming two years.

Acknowledging a modest departure from the more contentious oversight plan of the 113th Congress, the Ranking Member highlighted areas of importance to prevent the mistakes that led to the financial crisis of 2008. Waters focused on specific issues including the protection and full implementation of Dodd-Frank; support for the remarkably successful Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; the preservation of homeownership and affordable rents for low to moderate income families; and the need to examine the nation’s credit reporting system to strengthen the economic futures of more Americans.

This afternoon, the Committee adopted the plan by voice vote.

Full text of Waters’ statement is below and can be found here:



 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let me begin by saying that I appreciate the straightforward and clear manner in which this oversight plan has been drafted.

Mr. Chairman, I’m pleased you have decided to make this document – which is designed to discuss the issues this Committee will examine throughout the 114th Congress – noncontroversial. This is a dramatic and very positive departure from the Republican plan in the last Congress, which was more contentious, inflammatory and ideological.

While we are certain to disagree on many of the topics our Committee will cover over the next two years, this document appropriately highlights the issues, agencies and laws that will occupy our time.

However, our caucus has its own beliefs as to what the mission and larger purpose of this Committee should be. I expect you’ll be hearing from my Democratic colleagues as this markup moves forward.

I, for one, believe this Committee should be focused on ensuring that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. After the vast destruction of wealth caused by the financial crisis, it is imperative that we protect American workers and taxpayers by minimizing the booms and busts of an unstable market. That’s why we need strong rules that keep Wall Street stable and prevent their excessive risks from damaging Main Street.

We have made great progress with the passage of the Wall Street Reform Act, which protects consumers from the deceptive practices and products that led to the 2008 crisis; creates transparency in previously opaque markets; provides shareholders with more say over the governance of corporations; and gives financial regulators new tools to detect and prosecute fraud.

But as we’ve seen in just the first few weeks of this Congress, Republicans in the House are determined to repeal, weaken, or pressure regulators to significantly alter Dodd-Frank – even if that means holding must-pass legislation – like government funding bills – hostage. That’s why I was so pleased last night to hear our President say he would veto any legislation that would “unravel” Wall Street Reform.

As we begin this new Congress, this Committee ought to be highlighting the achievements of one of the signature accomplishments of Dodd-Frank– creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – an agency that has been a remarkable success story in standing up for consumers, students, the elderly, and our service members who have been subject to the deceptive practices of unscrupulous corporations and financial institutions. I’m not sure why Republicans continue working to undermine this important watchdog – and are instead siding with the unscrupulous payday lenders, debt collectors, mortgage servicers and other institutions that previously operated in the shadows. The CFPB has already returning $4.8 billion dollars to consumers harmed by wrongful practices – and is taking enforcement actions against bad actors to clean up the system so that honest small businesses can thrive and create jobs.

And speaking of creating jobs, we must extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter for the long term, to ensure it continues to support hundreds of thousands of workers and keeps the playing field level so that American businesses large and small can compete successfully in global markets.

Democrats are also committed to ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to purchase a home or affordably rent one, by preserving time-tested approaches that provide certainty to American homebuyers – like the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage – and continued access to affordable rental housing. Last Congress, this Committee held one single hearing on public and assisted housing – sending a clear message regarding the majority’s lack of interest in the housing needs of poor, elderly, and disabled Americans. That track record is shameful – especially given the devastating sequester cuts that crippled important programs that help low- and moderate-income families. And Republicans continue to block important housing bills, including those that would protect tenants from foreclosure, preserve homeownership, and increase access to credit for credit-worthy borrowers.

Finally, we must take a closer look at important issues we too often overlook. That includes the need to reform our nation’s consumer reporting system, which often causes needless heartbreak, frustration and devastation as a result of incomplete or erroneous information on credit reports.

Thank you, I yield back the balance of my time.”

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