WASHINGTON — The 26-day partial government shutdown is hurting financial markets as well as low-income renters, the head of the House Financial Services Committee said Wednesday.
The Financial Services Committee oversees the securities, insurance, banking and housing industries.
That includes supervision of major financial services regulators, including the Federal Reserve, the Department of the Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Under the shutdown, 94 percent of SEC employees are furloughed. It has been unable to carry out enforcement measures or approve documents for businesses attempting to enter the stock market.
“The Trump shutdown is harming hard-working Americans and our financial markets,” Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters said. “I call on Republicans in Congress to join with us and … open the government, so we can put an end to all the harm this shutdown is causing.”
The committee also has jurisdiction over the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has furloughed 95 percent of its employees due to the shutdown. The department has made headlines for allowing over 1,000 rental assistance contracts to expire, putting its low-income recipients at risk of eviction.
Waters, speaking at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, outlined the Financial Services Committee’s agenda for the year, including preservation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Waters specifically targeted Mick Mulvaney, former CFPB director and current White House chief of staff, saying he had closed several offices within the bureau, withdrawn lawsuits, blocked internal regulations and more.
“Mulvaney made it a priority to dismantle the Consumer Bureau from within,” she said.
The committee also will take up regulating the growth of financial technology firms, reforming the credit reporting system after Equifax’s 2017 data breach and funding affordable and fair housing programs, she said.
Waters singled out Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson for “making unprecedented attacks on fair housing” by halting investigations and “sidelining” top fair housing advisers. She laid out four major housing reforms: maintaining the availability of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, preserving sufficient levels of private capital, requiring transparency and standardization, and ensuring access to affordable rental housing.
Waters called for bipartisanship in addressing global poverty and in maintaining sanctions against Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, as well as long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, Terrorism Risk Insurance and the Export-Import Bank.
“I will work with those on the opposite side of the aisle who want to work on these issues,” said Waters. “But of course, if they don’t, I have the gavel.”
Waters told the crowd that she and the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry, “do have a relationship” and collaborated on bills in the past. They will reintroduce the Promoting Transparent Standards for Corporate Insiders Act, further limiting illegal insider trading on non-public stocks.
When asked if he supported Waters’ plans, McHenry said only, “Some of them are good, some of them are bad.”