Congress is supposed to serve as a check and balance on the President and federal agencies. We didn’t see a lot of that when the Republicans were in the majority, but now that the Democrats are in control, we’re already seeing a lot of things work differently.
Let’s take a quick look at the House Financial Services Committee, which is one Trump is definitely paying attention to.
What is the Committee’s charge?
The House Financial Services Committee is charged with oversight of banks, federal monetary policy, economic stabilization, insurance, international finance, currency and credit, public and private housing, securities and exchanges, and urban development.
They conduct oversight on the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The Committee also has 6 subcommittees:
✦ Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets
✦ Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions
✦ Housing, Community Development and Insurance
✦ National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy
✦ Diversity and Inclusion
✦ Oversight and Investigations
In addition to their oversight duties, the Committee deals with any legislation that affects banking, money, housing, and insurance.
Who is the Committee Chair?
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) is the new Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. She takes over from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who spent him time dismantling the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which were put in place to protect citizens and the country after the 2008 financial meltdown.
“This was known as the juice committee. There is no more juice in this committee,” Waters said in a speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, her first policy address as committee chair. So-called “juice committees” are generally ones that oversee lucrative industries and are seen as desirable to members because they’re a good platform for fundraising from those industries.
Waters has tangled with Trump quite a bit during the last Congress and has promised to “bring accountability to the Trump administration.” She was one of the first and earliest Democrats to call for his impeachment.
What can we expect from the Committee going forward?
During the last Congress, Waters pushed the Treasury Dept. to disclose information about any financial ties the Trump family had with Russia, so we should be on the lookout for her to follow up on that inquiry. Water is working with Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff as they work with Deutsche Bank to determine the details of the bank’s relationship with Trump.
In an interview she said, “of particular importance is ensuring that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not dismantled by Trump’s appointees. This critical agency must be allowed to resume its work of protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive or abusive practices without interference from the Trump Administration.”
One of those appointees is Mick Mulvaney, who is the Director of Office of Management and Budget, and of course, Trump’s current acting Chief of Staff.
Waters has also said she wants to put a spotlight on affordable housing, investigate Wells Fargo, and help Americans and small businesses get fair access to the financial system.
How to stay on top of what the Committee is doing
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