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Waters: GOP Budget Views Abandon Main Street

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, rebuked Committee Republicans for putting forth budget views that fail to address issues of wealth inequality, the racial wealth gap, homelessness, affordable housing, consumer protection, and investor protection.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Today, this Committee will consider Views and Estimates on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018. This is important work, as our Committee has jurisdiction over critical issues of consumer and investor protection, financial stability, affordable housing, and a number of other programs essential to the health and well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals.

Let’s first acknowledge that our economy is in the eighth year of recovery following the Great Recession. January marked the 83rd straight month of private sector job growth, the longest consecutive stretch on record. During that time, the economy has added over 16 million private sector jobs, the housing market has stabilized, and wages are rising. Considering the crashing economy the Obama Administration inherited, this is remarkable progress.

That said, we still have significant challenges to address. The wealth gap is unacceptably high, both between the wealthy and the rest of America, and between white households and minority households. Systemic inequities continue to impede progress for tens of millions of Americans – especially low- and middle-income Americans and communities of color. Far too many families are struggling to make ends meet.

The policies proposed by the Majority and the Trump administration would do nothing to address these challenges. Instead, they plan to slash funding to programs that benefit families and strengthen communities, and strip away important protections that allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.

For example, consider the “Wall Street first” agenda being pushed by President Trump, the billionaires in his Administration and the Majority. Their plans to help out Wall Street by dismantling Wall Street Reform and destroying the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be exceptionally harmful for all Americans, and lead us down the path to another financial crisis.

And then there is the fact that Trump has signed a bill into law that ends the requirement that companies— like Exxon Mobil—that drill for oil or natural resources in foreign countries— like Russia, which interfered with our election— have to disclose what they've paid those foreign governments—like Putin's—for those drilling rights. Suspicious actions like this are why I am calling for an independent investigation of Trump's ties to Russia. Republicans should join me and other Democrats in this effort.

The Majority should look at its Views document and ask, would this benefit all of America or just an elite few? If they reflected on this question, they might realize that their document makes no mention that there are nearly 550,000 homeless people in America today. Mr. Chairman, did you know that over one-fifth of people experiencing homelessness are children and nearly 7 percent are veterans? This is simply unacceptable and should be acknowledged as a problem in the Committee’s Views.

Democrats are committed to not just ending homelessness but also to promoting strong consumer and investor protections, ensuring access to affordable housing, and helping American workers and small businesses thrive.

I now yield the remainder of my time to Mr. Kildee of Michigan.


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