– Citing abuse of the legislative process by House Republicans, Congresswoman Maxine Waters
(D-CA) Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, voiced her strong opposition to two measures that came before the House tonight.
Waters expressed her frustration with the circumventing of the legislative process to bring large and controversial measures to the floor through the expedited procedure known as “suspension,” which truncates debate for legislation that is generally non-controversial. The Republican majority proceeded with this tactic despite the objections of the Ranking Member.
The first measure considered was HR 5405, the “Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act,” a package which combines 11 separate bills authored by Republican Members of the Committee. A portion of Waters’ remarks on the House floor included:
“These complex and wide ranging measures have been hastily merged together and rushed to the floor for a vote. The expedited process in which the Republicans have engaged – over my objection – has denied Members the opportunity to debate how these pieces will interact with each other – and the problems that may occur as a result.
With this omnibus proposal touching so many different aspects of our derivatives and securities laws, Members ought to have the chance to offer amendments on the floor, and debate whether this laundry-list of provisions is the right approach. Again, this is a substantial piece of legislation, with the package requiring three separate reports by the SEC, and another robust cost-benefit analysis.”
The second measure, HR 5461, the “Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014,” attaches three divisive measures that make substantive changes to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law to a bipartisan, Senate-passed measure that makes technical changes to the law. A portion of Waters’ remarks on the House floor included:
“In the spirit of bipartisanship, Representative Carolyn McCarthy and I worked with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle – and on both sides of the Capitol – to come up with a targeted, bipartisan insurance capital standards fix.
After months of holding hearings and building consensus – we delivered to our Chairman a bill with no opposition. Democrats and Republicans supported the measure, as did outside experts on financial reform – and the financial services industry. It was a bill that unanimously passed the Senate and it represented the kind of work Congress should be doing.
But instead of passing the measure, this non-controversial technical change has been “repackaged” into a broader and more controversial bill – by attaching provisions that make substantive changes to Dodd-Frank that, unlike the insurance capital standards fix, are non-technical in nature and are not universally supported.
And the reality is, by circumventing and politicizing the process, this common-sense legislation is going nowhere in the United States Senate.
Mr. Speaker, this Congress has been infamous for its inability to get anything done. But on this one issue, we have managed to get the policy right, and get incredibly broad support. We have a clear path to getting something done. But unfortunately, the Chairman has decided throw a wrench in the works at the last minute, for no reason.
And finally, it’s clear that this is an exercise in political theater. It is well-known – and widely-reported – that Republican leadership has privately told insurance industry stakeholders they will bring up a “clean” insurance capital standards bill after the mid-term elections. It simply shows the disgraceful nature of this debate – and the partisan, dilatory tactics – that create more distrust in the political process. Rather than do what is right and enact legislation that everyone has agreed on, the Chairman has decided to create a fight where there was none. Make no mistake – but for the Chairman’s intransigence, the insurance capital fix bill could be on the President’s desk for signature tomorrow.”
In the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans have expressed the need to quickly and cleanly pass this capital standards fix. In fact, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) – who authored the original capital provision in Dodd-Frank that requires the measure – said the following about the “clean” version of the bill in the Senate:
“My hope is that it will move quickly through the Committee. We’ve worked extensively to reach consensus…I would hate for a bill … after many months to have achieved consensus, to get bogged down in unrelated issues…This isn’t reopening a major issue in Dodd-Frank,” she said. “It is simply bringing clarity to a provision that I authored that the Fed has misinterpreted. I think given how closely we’ve worked with everyone, it really is more of a technical correction.”
Votes on these measures will take place Tuesday.