H.R. 4173 - The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) detailed some of her legislative accomplishments during the closing of the conference committee of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and voiced her strong support for the bill. Her remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that the conference report for H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, contains provisions supported by the Congressional Black Caucus Members of the Financial Services Committee that would provide for:
• The Federal Insurance Office to gather information about the ability of minorities and low-income persons to access affordable insurance products.
• Consideration and mitigation of the impact of winding down a systemically risky institution on minorities and low-income communities.
• Expansion of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's advisory board to include experts in civil rights, community development, communities impacted by high-priced loans, and others.
• And perhaps most importantly, the establishment of Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion at each of the Federal financial services agencies.
These Offices would provide for diversity in the employment, management, and business activities of these agencies. The data on the need for these offices speaks for itself. Diversity is lacking in the financial services industry, with the GAO reporting that from 1993 to 2004 the level of minority participation in the financial services professions only increased marginally from 11 percent to 15.5 percent.
In addition, Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to note that this conference report includes a provision I championed to allow the SEC to issue rules on proxy access, giving the nation's pension funds and other long-term institutional investors a say in the governing of the companies in which they own stock.
Additionally, I am pleased that this bill addresses foreclosures, which have single-handedly inflicted tremendous damage on neighborhoods in my district, in California, and across the country.
It has long been my position that this bill would be incomplete without directly addressing the needs of America's homeowners and neighborhoods. That is why I fought for an additional $1 billion in funds for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), a program whose authorizing legislation I wrote in 2008.
I am also pleased that an additional $1 billion in emergency assistance for unemployed homeowners was included in this bill. Reports indicate that 60% of individuals seeking help in avoiding foreclosures are doing so because they are unemployed. This funding will provide a critical bridge for homeowners during periods of joblessness, and allow them to maintain stable housing for their children.
This $2 billion, combined with an additional $6 billion I have secured for NSP through two rounds of funding, is another step towards addressing the foreclosure crisis. But more needs to be done. That is why I am pleased that the Treasury has committed to providing another $2 billion for homeowners at risk for foreclosure. And that is why I will continue to fight for both additional funding and for loss mitigation legislation, which would make it mandatory for banks to offer real, sustainable loan modification offers.
I am proud of our work in the Financial Services Committee and in this conference committee, and I offer my strong support to this legislation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman; I yield back the balance of my time.