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Waters Blasts Republicans for Time Wasted, Issues Ignored

In today’s full Committee markup, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, blasted Republicans for continuing to waste the Committee’s time and resources on measures that weaken important consumer protections, undo transparency and accountability measures for Wall Street’s biggest actors and carve out major exceptions for large public companies.

Waters criticized Republicans for continuing to delay consideration of reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and the charter of the Export-Import Bank, both of which expire this year. Finally, Waters called on her Republican counterparts to join her in supporting amendments that underscore the importance of diversity and inclusion of women and minorities, particularly in light of their interest in discriminatory practices at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Her statement is below.

As prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Today, we will consider a multitude of measures related to capital markets, defense production, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

While I have concerns with the majority of these bills, I am particularly concerned to see such an egregious amount of time being spent on measures weakening the CFPB. This misuse of this Committee’s time and resources is even more disheartening as the renewal of two major initiatives critical to helping small businesses, creating jobs and spurring economic growth continue to go unaddressed.

First, I am appreciative that the Chairman has advised me that we should be taking up the renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act next week. TRIA ensures our largest venues, businesses and employers have affordable access to terrorism insurance coverage. But I am also talking about the extension of the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and levels the playing field so that American businesses large and small can compete successfully in global markets.

Each additional day this Committee ignores these items generates continued uncertainty for American businesses that hurts job creation, our competitiveness and economy.  Instead of causing yet another self-inflicted wound, we should be sending a strong signal to the wide range of job creators, small businesses, manufacturers, and other segments of our economy that these important entities will be extended quickly and for the long-term.

Mr. Chairman, I’m very pleased that you opened up this hearing talking about job creation, employment and underemployment. I want us all to make these measures a real priority.

I find it particularly ironic that today we consider the Defense Production Act, an important measure that empowers the president to prioritize government contracts in the case of defense, infrastructure, or natural disaster emergencies. Mr. Chairman, as you know, this measure expires on the same day as the charter of the Export-Import Bank. And while our staffs have been in conversation for months over the reauthorization of the DPA, not one step has been taken to move the renewal of Ex-Im forward.

Democrats believe we must stop wasting the few legislative days we have left this session and quickly move on legislation to renew Ex-Im and TRIA, to ensure our job creators have the support they need to continue driving our economy forward.

Instead, the majority continues to push a steady drumbeat of piecemeal measures that undercut reforms made in response to the worst crisis in a generation. The bills before us today would water down protections for American consumers and investors, undo important transparency and accountability measures for Wall Street’s biggest actors and exempt many large public companies from oversight by financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Two measures we may consider today are designed to chip away at the important role of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) –  one of the centerpieces of Wall Street reform. In case my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have forgotten, FSOC was created for the express purpose of looking at every aspect of our financial system for possible weaknesses and risk – something that did not happen in the lead up to the crisis. These bills are merely roadblocks to that goal – and only serve to disrupt the delicate balance between ensuring the stability of the system and the protection of sensitive market information that could weaken the economy if disclosed.

Nine measures making changes to the CFPB will also be considered. I am not opposed to making improvements, but let’s make one thing clear – many of the Republican members of this Committee did not support the Bureau’s creation, and are part of a continued effort to bog it down with additional paperwork, increase its bureaucratic responsibilities and eliminate important tools at their disposal.  While I do support reasonable efforts to improve the Bureau, I find it hard to negotiate in good faith with those who are only interested in destroying it.

Finally, we will be offering a number of amendments to these measures today. Where possible, we will attempt to underscore the importance of diversity and inclusion of women and minorities. I expect my friends on the other side of the aisle to look favorably on these amendments – as I hope their actions and commitment to diversity today match the rhetoric we have all heard in the ongoing investigations regarding the CFPB.

Thank you, I yield back.”


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