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In Floor Remarks, Waters Delivers Sharp Rebuke of Anti-Consumer Legislation

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Washington, DC, February 4, 2015 | comments

As the House of Representatives considered legislation weakening Wall Street’s cash-strapped regulators, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, delivered sharp remarks rebuking H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2015.

Dubbing it as ‘anti-consumer,’ Waters criticized the burdensome, time-consuming rulemaking requirements outlined in the bill, which would make it harder for regulators to act independently and in the best interests of the American public. The bill also allows special interest groups to bring costly court challenges against crucial reforms from the regulators in charge of protecting American consumers and investors.

Making matters worse, last night, House Republicans slipped an additional, harmful provision to offset the cost of the legislation by cutting $36 million from the budget of the successful Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that has returned approximately $5.3 billion from bad actors in the financial services industry back to 15 million American consumers.

The statement can be found here, with the full text below:

As prepared for delivery

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I rise to oppose HR 50, an anti-consumer, deregulatory bill that would stop rulemaking by our nation’s financial overseers dead in its tracks.

In 2008, we witnessed the worst financial crisis since 1929, which halted lending to small businesses, left millions without a home, and pushed countless Americans into personal bankruptcy and ruin. Afterwards, my colleagues and I in Congress worked diligently to put in place serious and comprehensive safeguards to prevent another collapse.

Nevertheless, today House Republicans are suffering from selective amnesia when they push this legislation to undo financial reform.

Indeed, this bill – HR 50 – places significant administrative hurdles on our regulators, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Certain provisions require our regulators – who are tasked with protecting consumers and investors – to conduct onerous, industry-friendly cost-benefit analysis and to submit their rules for review to the Office of Management and Budget. This hurts their ability to act independently and in the best interest of the public. In addition, this bill would arm special interests with a time-tested weapon to delay and kill reform—the opportunity to challenge our cash-strapped regulators in court on every rule. But this is the ultimate point of the bill—to make regulating everything from securities fraud, payday loans, credit cards, insider trading, and derivatives that much harder.

But most concerning is that Republicans want to pay for the costs of their new burdens by depriving the one regulator charged with protecting our nation’s consumers of tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Chairman, this is just the latest in a never-ending effort to unravel the important protections for consumers and taxpayers this Congress put in place following the worst crisis in a generation.

With our economy still recovering from the 14 trillion dollar financial crisis, with families in my own district and probably yours still struggling with foreclosure and unsure how they will be able to make ends meet in retirement, we simply cannot undermine fundamental reforms or the agencies enforcing them.

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

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