Chairman Hensarling Discusses Washington Accountability, Jobs Legislation
“We have 14 bills before us that all have a common thread. Ultimately, they are there to help the people who are underemployed and unemployed in America today.”
June 10, 2014 -
WASHINGTON- House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) made the following opening statement at today’s full committee markup:
12.2 percent. That is the rate of underemployment or real unemployment in today’s economy. The latest figures show there were roughly 10 million unemployed Americans looking for work last month. Almost 20 million Americans today are underemployed. According to the Department of Labor, in May the labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent, the lowest level in at least a generation. It hasn’t been lower since March 1978. According to the Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy actually shrank by one percent in the first quarter of this calendar year. According to a study done by the Brookings Institution, the American economy is less entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades.
I say this to remind all members of this committee that, again, millions -- in this case, tens of millions -- of our fellow countrymen continue to suffer in a continuing non-recovery recovery. It is their interest, their sustainability, their hopes, their desires, their needs that should be paramount on our minds as we enter the markup of the legislation before us. We should continue to focus not just on the statistics but on the voices; the voices I know that I hear from my district.
I hear from David of Mesquite, who says “I’ve sent out over 1,500 resumes and gotten four interviews, with none advancing to more than the first.” I hear from Bobby in Mineola, who writes “part-time, under-paid work with cost of living so high is destroying families that I know in Texas.”
These are the statistics; these are the voices.
Again, I believe we have 14 bills before us that all have a common thread. Ultimately, they are there to help the people who are underemployed and unemployed in America today.
What we will do is offer bills that will add more transparency and more accountability to both the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the CFPB. And I would just remind my colleagues, particularly those on the other side of the aisle, regardless of how noble a purpose an agency may have, it does not mean it is not in need of accountability and transparency. I believe there is no agency in government that has a more noble purpose than the Veterans Administration and clearly there is no agency of government that is probably in greater need of accountability and transparency.
Small businesses are the job engine of America; we all know that. The evidence is indisputable and small businesses need capital and small businesses suffer under the weight of the red tape regulatory load. And, again, let’s err on the side of helping those who want to go to work in America.
So I want to thank my colleagues who are bringing these various bills to the markup today. Again, we have heard from many that the CFPB is a unique agency and, regrettably, they are part of a challenge where American small businesses are suffering a death of 1,000 paper cuts. The bills that are presented for the CFPB, almost all are practices that are routine for almost every other federal agency.
In addition, we have a couple of bills coming out of Mr. Garrett’s subcommittee that will make it easier for small businesses to access the capital they need to become successful and create jobs.
Again, it will be a long markup, but I assume a productive markup and I can assure you the voices of David from Mesquite and Bobby from Mineola will be heavy on my mind as we enter this markup. I hope that each member thinks about the voices of those who are underemployed and unemployed in their districts.