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Waters Opening Statement at Markup of 17 Bills

Today, at a House Financial Services Committee markup of 17 bills, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement:

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, here we are yet again marking up a large number of bills, many of which could be harmful to consumers, investors, and our economy. Once again, the slate of bills for consideration includes several measures that would roll back or weaken important components of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as other misguided measures.

Today we are also looking at several productive bipartisan bills that I and other Democrats on the Committee have worked on and will support. But while some individual measures we will consider today will have support from many Committee Democrats, I want to make it clear that many of these bills mirror legislation included in S.2155, a Senate bill that contains harmful provisions that Democrats must not support. S.2155 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. While it includes some bipartisan bills it also repackages several elements of the Chairman’s Wrong Choice Act, and ultimately adds up to a brazen giveaway to Wall Street that would harm consumers and risk another recession. It must not become law.

Republicans have made it their top priority to weaken and eliminate important safeguards that Democrats put in place to prevent another financial crisis and protect consumers, investors, and the economy. As I have said before, there are many important issues that this Committee must focus on instead of the misguided regulatory rollbacks continually pushed by the Majority.

For example, I believe that it is time for Congress to take action to ensure that abusive megabanks like Wells Fargo, which have demonstrated a consistent pattern of illicit activity, face real consequences for repeatedly harming consumers. The fines that prudential regulators have required megabanks to pay for their wrongdoing have seemingly amounted to the cost of doing business. Steeper penalties must be used – including banning culpable executives, and shutting down recidivist megabanks.

This Committee also has yet to take any action to comprehensively reform our nation’s broken credit reporting system. This is particularly important in the wake of the massive Equifax data breach, which has impacted so many Americans, none of whom have any choice about whether to do business with the company. I have introduced comprehensive legislation to reform this industry to take the burden off of consumers and hold the credit rating agencies accountable, and I hope the Chairman will consider that legislation for the next markup.

I am also still waiting for this Committee to do anything to address the homelessness crisis in this country. With over half a million homeless people in America today, Congress has an obligation to act on this critical matter.

This Committee also has yet to comprehensively review advances in financial technology, known as fintech, and how our banking, securities, and consumer protection laws should be reformed to prevent abuse.

Mr. Chairman, these items I have identified are important and pressing issues that I hope the Committee will turn its attention to, rather than harmful measures that are aimed at helping out the industry.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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