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House Passes Waters’ Resolution to Help Americans Affected by the Trump Shutdown

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, gave the following floor statement, on H. Res. 77, a resolution to encourage financial institutions, consumer reporting agencies, and other entities to do what they can to help consumers, including federal employees, contractors, small businesses, and other individuals affected by the Trump shutdown.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you very much. I rise to urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 77, as amended.

President Trump’s historic, 35-day shutdown of the federal government has had a deeply harmful impact on millions of Americans and the U.S. economy. While this shutdown recently came to an end, we must not forget the recovery has just begun for a wide range of affected consumers, including federal employees, contractors, small businesses, and other individuals. Many of those people will not receive back pay, and many of them have various financial obligations, like a mortgage or a student loan payment, that they may have missed. However, they did not cause the shutdown and should not suffer any negative consequences from it.

Financial institutions and other entities, like landlords and consumer reporting agencies, can play a key role in helping these innocent people. Given the financial hardship and emotional distress these consumers face through no fault of their own, I introduced H. Res. 77 to send a strong message to the financial industry that they should do what they can to help these innocent consumers. Specifically, the resolution expresses the sense of Congress that financial institutions and other entities should work proactively to help all consumers affected by the shutdown. This includes waiving fees, ceasing evictions and foreclosures, and otherwise providing forbearance for any affected consumer, as well as taking steps to ensure their creditworthiness is not impaired because of the shutdown.

Financial regulators agree that it is appropriate for financial institutions to offer prudent accommodations to help their affected customers. On January 10, I wrote to the regulators to encourage them to provide public guidance to financial institutions to underscore they could affirmatively make prudent workout arrangements consistent with safety and soundness without fear of being subject to examiner criticisms, and I am glad they made such a statement the very next day. On January 18, I wrote a letter to various financial services trade organizations, as well as the three largest credit reporting agencies, to encourage their institutions and member companies to take all prudent and appropriate actions, including those outlined in the regulators interagency statement, to help any consumer who may be affected by the shutdown.

While I appreciate that many financial institutions have already announced various accommodations for affected consumers, I believe it is important that there be a robust effort by all financial institutions, consumer reporting agencies, and others, to do what they can to help in the weeks and months to come, which H. Res. 77 seeks to encourage.

I urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 77, and I reserve the balance of my time.

H. Res. 77 was passed by a voice vote.


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