Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “The Annual Testimony of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the International Financial System.”
I would like to welcome Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who today is presenting testimony for the first time on the state of the international financial system. This is a very timely hearing, given that it is the international financial system – established by the United States and its allies after World War II – that has enabled the West to hit the Russian economy with unprecedented force in response to the travesty and brutality of Putin’s war against Ukraine.
The most powerful sanctions to date have blocked Russia’s largest financial institutions and its Central Bank from the global financial system. I commend President Biden and Secretary Yellen for their leadership in coordinating these efforts with our allies. In support of these efforts, I recently sent a letter to the trade associations representing our nation’s financial institutions asking them to report how U.S. businesses are doing their part to exit Russia and block funding for Putin’s war crimes. I look forward to their fulsome responses.
The unity of our allies in helping Ukraine did not occur by accident. In fact, this unity is the direct result of the Biden Administration’s efforts to renew the U.S. commitment to global economic cooperation. President Biden signaled this commitment last year with his first budget proposal, which boosted U.S. contributions to the multilateral development banks, global climate finance efforts and food insecurity programs by 73%. This was followed by Secretary Yellen’s support for a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights at the International Monetary Fund, which provided a $275 billion liquidity boost to emerging economies to help them respond to the global pandemic.
There will also be a new test of the strength of the international financial system and its international financial institutions, which will center on the ability and willingness of western nations to adequately respond to the humanitarian, energy security, and food insecurity crises caused by the war in Ukraine.
But our work is not done. This Committee recently marked up legislation to further isolate Russia and support Ukraine, including my bill, the “Nowhere to Hide Oligarchs’ Assets Act,” that assists FinCEN in identifying the yachts, the luxury apartments, and other assets of Putin’s cronies. We will continue to keep the pressure on Putin.
Additionally, my Committee continues to pay close attention to the challenges faced in the Caribbean, including a lack of access to international banking services. So, I want to see a concerted effort by international financial institutions to focus on the Caribbean, and show the world that development is possible even under the most challenging circumstances.
So, Secretary Yellen, I look forward to your testimony.