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At Powell Hearing, Waters Warns of Republican Efforts to Undermine the Fed and Diminish Its Ability to Support American Workers

Today, at the semiannual Humphrey-Hawkins hearing on monetary policy and the state of the economy with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, 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 and welcome, Chairman Powell.

I look forward to your testimony today on monetary policy, recent economic developments, and the outlook for our economy.

I am concerned that the hard-earned economic recovery, which came as a result of policies and reforms put in place by President Obama, Democrats in Congress, and the Federal Reserve, will be undermined by the reckless and misguided policies of this President and Congressional Republicans.

The President and his allies in Congress are working every day to roll back the critical protections for consumers, investors and the economy that Democrats put in place in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As they move to take an axe to Dodd-Frank, they seemingly have forgotten about the tremendous economic harm that resulted from the financial crisis, and appear to be perfectly willing to pave the way right to another crisis.

With their tax scam, Republicans have engineered a massive giveaway to corporations and the ultra-rich, at the expense of hardworking Americans. The tax scam balloons the national debt by $1.8 trillion, gives corporations a $1.3 trillion tax break, and will eventually raise taxes on 86 million American families. Despite the huge windfall for corporations, most are not raising wages, but are instead buying back their own stock to boost share prices. Some corporations are giving one-time bonuses for optics, but these one-time bonuses represent a tiny fraction of the windfall the corporations will pocket.

On top of that, the latest Trump budget request is again a cruel, senseless proposal that would be deeply harmful to millions of families, seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities. The budget request slashes the social safety net, cutting billions of dollars in funding for supplemental nutrition assistance and healthcare and housing programs. These policies show that Donald Trump simply has no interest in standing up for Americans who need a hand up. Instead, he has put forth a series of harmful policies that tell families and communities that they are on their own.

Our Majority colleagues have also launched a full-fledged legislative assault on the Federal Reserve. The Majority is pushing damaging legislative proposals that would roll back constraints on the influence of commercial banks within the Federal Reserve System, eliminate tools that proved critical to the Federal Reserve’s support of the economy following the financial crisis, undermine the Federal Reserve’s focus on employment, and eliminate its independence from the broken Congressional appropriations process. The Majority is also using the Federal Reserve as a piggy bank to pay for the costs of legislation, like the latest short-term spending measure and now H.R. 4296, which will be on the floor today. These Republican efforts to undermine the Fed diminish its ability to support American workers if we face another crisis.

Chairman Powell, I look forward to hearing your views on the economy and the path to sustaining the economic progress that was set in motion during the Obama Administration.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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