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During Markup, Waters Underscores Urgent Need to Renew Ex-Im

In opening remarks during a Financial Services Committee markup today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Committee’s Ranking Member, outlined the negative impacts of the group of bills under consideration and stressed the need to revive export credit financing for American businesses and workers.

Specifically, the Ranking Member pointed out that the measures threaten to hamper efforts to boost protections for the retirements savings of hardworking Americans, increase transparency in our markets, and undermine the critical progress made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Waters went on to discuss the urgent need to renew the Export-Import Bank in the wake of a series of announcements by U.S. companies that they will move their U.S.-based operations to countries where export financing is readily available. The Ranking Member also noted that the private sector has yet to step in to provide financing since the lapse of the Bank’s charter, which continues to hurt American workers and businesses.

Full text of the statement, as prepared for delivery, is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Today, our Committee will mark up a handful of legislative proposals that threaten to hamper critical progress our nation has made toward bolstering protections for retirement savers, increasing transparency in our markets, and supporting the good work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Some of these measures are not new to this Committee. Rather, these proposals underscore the exhaustive efforts by those in the Majority to exclusively serve the interests of industry and Wall Street firms by obstructing progress on critical protections for American consumers.

For instance, Republicans want to pass a bill repealing a requirement that larger public companies tell investors how much more they compensate their CEOs than the everyday worker. While executive compensation dipped briefly during the financial crisis, it has reached an all-time high, with some companies paying their CEOs more than 400 times their median employee’s pay. While investors having this basic information won’t solve the wealth gap, it certainly will help us better understand its scale and scope, and it should not be repealed.

In addition, two of the proposals under consideration today are part of the Republicans’ unrelenting effort to undermine the widely successful Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. One measure would remove the consumer agency’s director and replace him with a commission – a proposal that Congress considered, and rejected, when we passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law five years ago. The other would add a Senate-confirmed office of Inspector General to the agency.

Finally, I am deeply concerned by the Majority’s ongoing efforts to weaken and delay the Department of Labor’s ability to update its rules governing the provision of retirement investment advice. The importance of modernizing the standard that protects retirees from conflicted advice cannot be understated. While the retirement savings landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, the current rule was last updated when Carter was President. In the meantime, conflicted advisers and bad actors in the industry skim more than 17 billion dollars in hardworking American savings each year. What’s more, the DOL has worked tirelessly to craft a rule that works, extending the comment period for the rule, holding a four-day hearing on the proposal, which included an additional 30 comment period, and participating in countless meetings with Members of Congress, industry and consumer groups.

Mr. Chairman, it is also unconscionable that we continue to waste precious time marking up counterproductive proposals while we ignore the urgent need to renew the Export-Import Bank.

This ideologically driven, job-killing crusade to end the Bank has already cost American jobs. And While Congress remains idle, our foreign competitors have stepped in with ready-made financing and incentives to move U.S. –based operations across the border to Canada and overseas to France, China and Hungary. And this is just the beginning.

Contrary to assertions by the Bank’s critics, the private sector has not stepped up to fill the void and American workers who will lose their jobs or see them moved overseas will be the ones who bear the brunt of this new right-wing ideological purity.

It’s well past time to reopen the doors to the Ex-Im Bank and give our businesses a fighting chance in the global marketplace by renewing this job-creating, community-sustaining agency.

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


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