Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)
, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee gave the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions during the Pandemic
On November 3, America decisively rejected President Trump, his harmful policies, and his dangerous rhetoric. The American people have given President-elect Biden a mandate to govern and reverse the harmful policies of the Trump Administration, including the many actions that several of our witnesses have taken to deregulate Wall Street. This mandate is entirely consistent with recent state referenda in which voters in red states embraced progressive economic policies. For example, in Nebraska, voters banned usury, approving a state-wide interest rate cap of 36 percent. In Florida, voters approved a $15 an hour minimum wage.
It is clear that Americans want a financial and economic system that works for them and not against them. I was inspired by the words of President-elect Biden on how he wants to unify the country. As ever, I stand ready to work with Members on both sides of the aisle and the incoming Biden Administration on reforming our financial system so that consumers and investors have the protections they need.
President-elect Biden has already begun the work of building a better future for our nation. On Monday, he established his Coronavirus Task Force, showing how seriously he is taking this virus. Make no mistake, the pandemic continues to take a terrible toll. There have been over 10.2 million U.S. cases and over 239,000 people have lost their lives to the virus. We are now seeing over 100,000 new U.S. cases a day for the first time.
From the beginning of this pandemic, I have urged regulators to focus their efforts on pandemic response and halt rulemakings unrelated to addressing the crisis. I am very concerned that regulators have nonetheless issued numerous harmful deregulatory rules in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. For example, the OCC issued a harmful rule that badly undermines the Community Reinvestment Act. Regulators have also moved to weaken the Volcker rule, which prevents banks from gambling with taxpayer money. There have also been a number of troubling rulemakings to weaken capital and other prudential requirements for the nation’s largest banks.
The last thing the nation needs during this crisis are actions from regulators that harm communities and make our financial system riskier and less stable. I am putting our witnesses on notice that I will be working with the Biden Administration to roll back these rules.
Financial regulation and the approach to diversity and inclusion in this country are going to change for the better. With the historic election of this country’s first woman and African-American to serve as Vice-President, it is already changing for the better. Under my leadership, the Committee has led the way on diversity and inclusion, establishing a historic Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, ably chaired by Rep. Beatty. Under President Biden’s leadership, our financial regulators will and must be diverse.
We are emerging from the dark days of the Trump Administration into the dawn of a new progressive America, where pro-consumer and pro-investor policies will always be first on the agenda.