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Waters Floor Statement on Legislation to Protect LGBTQ-Owned Businesses

This week, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement on the House floor urging the passage of H.R. 1443 the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act. This bill provides key protections to investors by requiring that financial institutions report on the sexual orientation and gender identity of applicants for business loans. The bill passed the House by a vote of 252-176.

As Prepared For Delivery

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1443, the “LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act,” for the second time this month.  

As we discussed on the floor last week, this bill, led by Representative Ritchie Torres, would provide much needed transparency in lending to LGBTQ-owned businesses by updating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to ensure financial institutions report the sexual orientation and gender identity of applicants for business loans. This legislation is needed because research shows that LGBTQ individuals have experienced discrimination when applying for a mortgage or other forms of credit. However, due to a lack of data collection, we do not know the extent of discrimination when it comes to business loans, who has been affected, and more importantly, how it can be corrected. 

According to one estimate, there are approximately 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses across our country. These entrepreneurs should be treated fairly and the data collected on small business owners by Mr. Torres’ bill will help to identify and prevent discrimination, and will enable communities, policymakers , and lenders to support the development and investment needs of LGBTQ-owned businesses. 

So, I thank Representative Torres for his leadership on this important bill. 

But I also want to express my disappointment that so many of our Republican colleagues decided to vote down this bill last week when it was considered under suspension of the rules. This bill passed the Committee on a voice vote and we worked with the Ranking Member, Mr. McHenry, to address concerns he had. I thank Ranking Member McHenry for working with us and for his support.  

I hope my colleagues who voted no will reconsider their position and vote yes on H.R. 1443. Whether or not they do, let me assure our friends, neighbors, constituents, and colleagues in the LGBTQ community, that one way or the other, this House will pass this bill. After all, this is the People’s House, and we simply cannot let lending or other forms of discrimination against any of our people stand. As we discussed last week, this is Pride Month and a time to celebrate all of the wonderful contributions the LGBTQ community has given to our economy and our country. I urge my colleagues to support this bill. 

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