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Waters: GOP Budget Views Ignores the Progress Made Since 2008 Crisis and Offers No Solutions

Financial Services Committee considers budget priorities for fiscal year 2017

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, rebuked Committee Republicans for putting forth budget views that ignore the significant progress that has been made since the 2008 crisis. Waters highlighted that the Republican budget failed to provide real solutions that will address the problems of the racial wealth gap, homelessness, consumer protection, investor protection and a stable financial system.

She released the following statement, which can be found here.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this mark-up of the Committee’s views and estimates on the budget for fiscal year 2017. Indeed, this work is very important, as our Committee has jurisdiction over very important issues of consumer and investor protection, financial stability, and a number of programs critical to the health and well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals.

The Majority’s Views paint a very dire picture of our budget situation, once again suggesting that we are on the verge of fiscal ruin. This grim description completely ignores the significant progress that has been made since the depths of the financial crisis – progress that is all the more remarkable given that during the last month of the Bush Administration, our economy lost more than 800,000 jobs.

Despite the long shadow cast by the 2008 crisis, and continuing global challenges, the American economy continues to make significant gains. Indeed, for 70 consecutive months, more than14 million private sector jobs have been created. To put it simply: the years of 2014 and 2015 mark the two strongest years of job creation since the close of the last Democratic Administration, from 1998 to 2000.

And we have seen similar progress in the decline of long-term unemployment, growth of our Gross Domestic Product, and gains in home prices in many areas of the country that had been devastated by the foreclosure crisis.

However, despite this progress, Democrats on this Committee agree that significant economic challenges still linger. The fruits of our recovery have not been shared broadly enough, and too many of our families still suffer.

Across both urban and rural communities nationwide, we continue to see far too many individuals and families suffer needlessly in poverty. In my own district, the city of Los Angeles experienced a 20 percent increase in homelessness since 2014, and a seven percent increase in veterans’ homelessness. In a country as wealthy as the United States, this level of deep, unmet need is simply unconscionable.

While we agree on the nature of these problems, where we differ from the Majority’s Views is on what’s needed to solve them. Democrats believe that the federal government plays an indispensable role in supporting the middle-class—whether through ensuring continued access to the affordable, 30-year fixed rate mortgage; advancing diversity and inclusion within the financial services sector; or, helping American exporters and workers thrive in the face of an increasingly competitive global landscape.

And Democrats likewise believe that the federal government can and should help ameliorate our nation’s far-too devastating levels of poverty, by ensuring that all Americans have access to safe, decent and affordable housing. We cannot simply tell our state and local governments, and non-profit partners, to keep providing more services with fewer resources.

Finally, we are committed to holding regulators accountable to fully implementing the Dodd-Frank Act by ensuring that our largest and most complex financial firms can be resolved without taxpayer assistance. Indeed, it is well past time that the Federal Reserve and the FDIC require large, complex firms to either prove that they’re resolvable under ordinary bankruptcy, or else reduce their footprint in the market.

Unfortunately, the Budget Views and Estimates presented by the Majority would take us in exactly the wrong direction, essentially telling middle-class and lower-income Americans that they have to go it alone, and offering no plan to eliminate the risks posed to the financial system by our largest financial institutions.

Democrats will today offer an alternative view, which recognizes our nation’s commitment to building a strong middle-class, supporting the most vulnerable among us and ensuring financial stability.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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