Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee hearing to receive the Monetary Policy and State of the Economy report from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen:
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you Mr. Chairman, and thank you Chair Yellen for testifying today.
Each day, as a new episode of chaos unfolds at the Trump White House, working families across the country are reminded that our hard-fought gains —to create more than 16 million private-sector jobs, lift wages, stabilize the housing market, rein in Wall Street's abusive practices and make affordable healthcare accessible—are in jeopardy.
Trump has already shown America what he is really about. He has taken steps to roll back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law based on the false premise that businesses do not have the ability to get loans, ignoring the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ survey showing that 96 percent of small businesses said their borrowing needs are satisfied.
In addition to rolling back financial protections, Trump has moved to eliminate safeguards that protect Americans planning for retirement from being ripped off by financial advisers, repealed a planned cut to mortgage insurance premiums that would have saved homeowners $500 a year, called for tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class, vowed to eliminate health insurance for 28 million people, aligned himself with Republican leaders in Congress in cutting Social Security and Medicare, threatened a trade war with two of our largest trading partners and adopted an anti-immigrant agenda.
Taken all together, these policies will shrink our economy, worsen inequality, lift inflation, reduce exports, eliminate jobs, explode federal budget deficits and ultimately steer us in the direction of another Great Depression. Simply put, the Trump agenda is bad for America.
Chair Yellen, on top of all this, and despite your important contributions to our economic recovery, my Republican colleagues continue to attack your policies, deflecting from their own failure to provide a fiscal stimulus that would have complemented, rather than undermined, the Fed’s bold efforts in recent years.
Now, Republicans are doubling down on their efforts to inject partisan politics into Fed decision making. Indeed, Republicans on this Committee have sought to weaken the independence of the Fed and have called for chaining policy decisions to a mathematical formula that would hamper the Fed’s ability to support the economy amid a severe and persistent shock.
Their agenda makes you wonder, do Republicans not remember the 11 million Americans who lost their homes, the $13 trillion taken from the savings of hardworking Americans, the nearly 9 million Americans who lost their jobs, and when the unemployment rate hit 10 percent?
While our economy has made significant gains, hardworking American families simply can’t afford another great recession. Despite the progress we have made, many communities across America continue to struggle, particularly minority communities, which were disproportionately hit by the crisis. On average, African Americans households lost 52% of their wealth, Hispanic households lost 66%, and white households lost only 16%.
In these tumultuous times, and with more progress that must be made for vulnerable communities, your steady leadership, and an independent Fed that advocates for the interests of all Americans, is now more important than ever.