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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, January 17, 2019

Congresswoman Waters outlines agenda for Financial Services Committee

By Nicole D. Prysby, J.D.

"An ongoing priority for me is ensuring that we have a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and strong financial regulation that protects consumers, investors and our economy," Waters asserted.

On Jan. 16, 2019, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif), delivered her first policy speech in the 116th Congress, outlining her priorities as Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Her remarks covered multiple topics, including the government shutdown, financial regulation, housing diversity, and international affairs. Waters is the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Chair of the Financial Services Committee. Her remarks were made at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress.

Waters first addressed the shutdown, calling on Republicans in Congress to help open the government, in order to prevent families from losing their homes due to the lapses in funding for Department of Housing and Urban Development rental assistance programs and grants.

She then went on to set out her ongoing priorities for the Financial Services Committee. Her first priority is ensuring a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and strong financial regulation. During his tenure, Acting Director of the Bureau Mick Mulvaney fired all members of the Consumer Advisory Board, requested zero dollars in operating funds for the Consumer Bureau from the Federal Reserve, moved to strip the Consumer Bureau’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity of its enforcement and supervisory authority, and closed the Office of Students and Young Consumers. Congresswoman Waters has introduced a bill, the Consumers First Act, that reverses many of these actions. She also noted that the Financial Services Committee will be paying very close attention to the growth of fintech firms and will take up the issue of credit reporting.

Other priorities for the Financial Services Committee include housing issues such as housing finance reform and fair housing. Congresswoman Waters plans to introduce a bill, the Ending Homelessness Act, which would provide $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to federal programs and initiatives to prevent homelessness. She also plans to create a Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion which will be dedicated to looking at diversity and inclusion issues under the Committee’s jurisdiction. On the international front, the Committee will focus on the work of the World Bank and the regional development banks in ending global poverty and the issue of U.S. sanctions against Russia for its hostile actions and its efforts to undermine the U.S. presidential election.

Waters concluded her remarks with a discussion of bipartisanship, pointing out recent financial-related bills where she has worked across the aisle. Some of the issues the Committee will take up include long-term reauthorization and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program, Terrorism Risk Insurance, and the reauthorization of the job-creating Export-Import Bank.

Companies: Center for American Progress

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