Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement at a full Committee markup.
Today, this Committee will mark up six bills, half of which have bipartisan support. After the stress the pandemic has placed on our economy, Democrats are responding with legislative solutions and working across the aisle to provide a safety net for consumers and investors to ensure their life savings are protected from predatory or bad market practices.
As the pandemic took jobs and loved ones, communities across this country looked to investing as an answer to rebuild their livelihood. Simultaneously, special purpose acquisition companies or “SPACs” have proliferated, putting retail investors at risk. SPACs are shell companies with no operations that can go public and avoid key IPO requirements. While SPACs have been good to SPAC sponsors, hedge funds, and investment banks, retail investors have been exposed to real risks. Committee Democrats will be marking up a bill led by Representative Michael San Nicolas, H.R. 5910, the “Holding SPACs Accountable Act of 2021,” to level the playing field between SPACs and other companies that want to go public by subjecting these shell companies to liability for making false or misleading forward-looking statements. Additionally, this Committee will also mark up a bill led by Representative Brad Sherman, H.R. 5913, the “Protecting Investors from Excessive SPAC Fees Act of 2021,” to require that SPACs make detailed and timely disclosures to investors about the risks associated with investing in the shell company.
Our work to protect investors doesn’t stop at SPACs. This Committee will also mark up a bill by Representative Josh Gottheimer, H.R. 5914, the “Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act,” to create a grant program within the Securities and Exchange Commission to bolster the ability of state securities watchdogs to protect seniors and their retirement savings. We will also consider a bill by Representative Bill Foster, H.R. 2620, the “Investor Choice Act of 2021,” to correct long-standing and deeply unfair practices of forcing customers to resolve their claims through arbitration instead of as part of a class action. This Committee will continue to focus on protecting retail investors as we recover from the pandemic.
Economic opportunity and the prosperity of all hard-working people in America is a top priority. So, this Committee will consider a bill by Representative Joyce Beatty, H.R. 5911, the “Fair Hiring in Banking Act,” to reduce barriers and expand employment opportunities for justice-involved individuals with minor criminal offenses. These individuals should have an equal opportunity to get a job at a bank or credit union, and this bill will help ensure that they do.
We will also consider H.R. 2311, the “Credit Union Governance Modernization Act,” a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Tom Emmer and Ed Perlmutter. The bill would streamline efforts in the rare circumstance a credit union may seek to expel a member whose behavior poses a serious threat to other members and staff, or disrupts operations, while ensuring fairness and due process for the member in question.
As we recover from the pandemic, we must continue to take a closer look at our financial system to ensure that retail investors and consumers are protected, and that the system provides equal opportunities for all. In a time when communities are desperate to build back and recover from the loss of the past year, this Committee will continue to advance legislation like what we are considering today to expand opportunities, promote fair and competitive markets, and ensure working people can safely build up their nest egg.
So, I would like to thank the Members for their work on all of these important bills and look forward to passing them through the Committee.