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Waters Calls Out Mnuchin for Prematurely Ending Essential Emergency Lending Programs

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 the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.”

Today the Committee convenes to conduct oversight over the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s pandemic response.

This pandemic continues to have a terrible impact across the nation. There have been over 13.4 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., which is almost double the amount of cases when the Secretary and Chair last testified in September, and over 267,000 people have lost their lives to the virus. Hospitalizations and deaths are surging as this crisis spirals out of control. Small businesses are shutting their doors permanently, and millions are at risk of eviction, foreclosure and being laid off.

A historic number of Americans resoundingly voted for a new direction last month by overwhelmingly voting for President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. The American people have made it clear that they want a government that will fight this virus and will protect their families and small businesses from the impacts of COVID-19.

Secretary Mnuchin, on a call last Monday, many Committee Democrats and I committed to not going home until we have a deal for a stimulus package that is desperately needed across the country. But as negotiations continue, I am appalled that you would knowingly make matters worse by permanently ending essential emergency lending programs, leaving states, cities and small businesses out to dry as the nation faces a dire and worsening phase of the pandemic crisis.

There is simply no justification or justifiable reason to take these tools away with the pandemic crisis worse than it has been and the Biden Administration arriving in January. Chair Powell, I am also concerned that the Federal Reserve acceded to Treasury’s request after publicly indicating the importance of extending these facilities.

Secretary Mnuchin, I am also very concerned that the Treasury Department may be taking actions that will undermine our housing markets during the pandemic, by reportedly working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to rush the government-sponsored enterprises out of conservatorship before the end of the Trump Administration.

And so, these actions follow the Trump Administration’s shameful obstruction of the transition process, delaying important information sharing about the pandemic response and national security between the Biden transition team and the current Administration.

So, today you will be held to account for your destructive and misguided actions.

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