Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement after a bipartisan Congressional delegation that she is leading concluded its visit to Germany.
“Since the beginning of this Congress, the Financial Services Committee has taken a close look at the U.S. sanctions regime and efforts to combat terrorism and illicit financing, convening hearings on existing sanctions on countries like Russia and opening investigations into financial institutions like Deutsche Bank. Our Committee has also passed legislation to better thwart criminal and terrorist activity, including by requiring anonymous shell companies to disclose their beneficial owners.
“In addition, our Committee has monitored the changing international economic environment, including the effects of trade tariffs on the U.S. and our allies, and of strategic foreign investments by countries like Russia and China on developing countries.
“Today, my colleagues and I depart Stuttgart, Germany after meeting with officials from U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and the U.S. Mission in Germany. We were briefed on the status of their important missions and leave with a better understanding of the economic and political impacts of the growing trade war, the dynamic challenges we face from Russia and China, and the importance of international cooperation to counter criminal and terrorist financing. We also leave knowing that our servicemembers and diplomats are doing an outstanding job executing U.S. policy, but, as Members of the Financial Services Committee, we must ensure that they have the tools needed to fulfill their missions.
“I would like to thank Lieutenant General James Vechery, the Deputy Commander of U.S. Africa Command, Major General Todd McCaffrey, the Chief of Staff for Africa Command; Rear Admiral Patrick Piercey, the Chief of Staff for U.S. European Command; Ms. Patricia Lacina, the Consular General of the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany; and their staffs for their professionalism and generosity during our visit.”
Under Chairwoman Waters’ leadership, pursuant to the Committee’s oversight authority, the Committee is investigating the potential illicit use of the U.S. financial system. Chairwoman Waters has also prioritized strengthening the financial system to prevent illicit finance activities. She has also fought for strong sanctions against Russia for its malign activities. And, the Committee has also focused on the impact of tariffs on the US and international economies.
In July, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 offered by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and cosponsored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services, passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The Sherman-Waters amendment would prohibit U.S. persons from trading in new Russian sovereign debt within 90 days of enactment, sending a strong signal to Russia, as well as to the financial markets, that the U.S. resolve to punish Russia for election interference remains strong and, if repeated, will likely trigger an even greater U.S. response.
In June, the Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 2513, The Corporate Transparency Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation that requires corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) to disclose their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, ending criminals’ ability to use anonymous shell companies to hide their money and illicit activities. The bill was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets, and Rep. Peter King (R-NY). It was passed by a bipartisan vote of 43 to 16.
Also in June, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy convened a hearing entitled, “Promoting Economic Growth: Exploring the Impact of Recent Trade Policies on the U.S. Economy.”
In May, the Financial Services Committee passed HR 2514, the Coordinating Oversight, Upgrading and Innovating Technology, and Examiner Reform Act (COUNTER Act), bipartisan legislation that closes loopholes in the Bank Secrecy Act, increases penalties for those who break the law and helps provide financial institutions with new tools to fulfill their obligations under the law. This bill was introduced by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH). It was passed by a vote of 55-0.
Also in May, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy convened a hearing entitled, “Assessing the Use of Sanctions in Addressing National Security and Foreign Policy Challenges.”
In April, at a Full Committee hearing, Waters pressed Secretary Mnuchin to provide the Committee with complete answers regarding the Treasury Department’s actions to lift sanctions on companies associated with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
In March, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy convened a hearing entitled, “Promoting Corporate Transparency: Examining Legislative Proposals to Detect and Deter Financial Crime.”