|8:13 PM EST||
Maxine Waters, D-CA 43rd
Ms. MAXINE WATERS of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Usually, we tell that saying to children to encourage them to achieve greater things, but it seems that when it comes to Congress, it is what Wall Street keeps telling House Republicans.
Mr. Speaker, Republicans thought they could sneak this bill by last week through a fast-track process on the House floor, a process with limited debate and no opportunity for amendments. They thought they could ram through this gift to a handful of the biggest Wall Street banks on just the 2nd day of this new Congress right after we had reconvened.
Well, the American people were watching, and the Democrats here in the House told them ``no.'' The Republican bill failed. Now, here they are; they are at it again. Now, H.R. 37 is back on the floor again, without the opportunity to amend it and with limited debate.
The only difference is that Republicans have reduced how many votes are needed to guarantee passage. That's right. Rather than fix the bill to win broad support, Republicans just changed the rule to make sure the tainted bill passes.
And what does this bill do? Well, for one, it takes a part of Wall Street reform's Volcker rule and delays it for yet another 2 years. Remember that the Volcker rule is the part of Dodd-Frank that stops government-supported banks from gambling with bank depositors' money. And this extra 2-year delay comes on top of a 3-year delay that our regulators carefully crafted to ease the megabanks' transition.
This particular part of the law that Republicans want to see delayed applies to what are known as collateralized loan obligations, or CLOs. CLOs are bundles of leveraged loans, loans often issued by private equity firms to facilitate corporate buyouts that can harm American jobs. The loans are sliced and diced into packages and sold off to investors, including banks that hold customers' deposits. The packages often also contain credit default swaps or other derivatives that can make the position
Somehow, Wall Street bankers--the supposedly smartest people in the room--can't seem to comply with a law passed in 2010 by--that's right--2017. Seven long years isn't enough. The Republicans and the banks want nearly a decade.
In addition to that, the Republican bill wouldn't just let the banks hold on to these CLOs. The bill would let the banks accumulate new CLOs also. That's right. The banks could actively trade in and out of these investments, unlike the rules carefully crafted by the Federal Reserve.
We saw the Republican playbook at the end of last year with the so-called swaps push-out rule. They hope they can jam these bills through Congress by attaching them to must-pass legislation. And most of all, they hope these issues are way too complicated or too technical for the American people to understand or care about. But the American people really do understand. They remember how our economy was nearly brought to its knees in 2008, and they recognize that we can't let Wall Street slowly
chip away at reforms designed to prevent that kind of large-scale financial crisis from happening again.
And President Obama gets it, too. That is why the White House said he would veto this legislation if it got to his desk. And so one cannot help but wonder why are we here on the floor after 8 o'clock in the evening with an attempt to push through something that was jammed into a package of bills? Many of those bills had been heard either in committee or on the floor, but one portion of this bill had not. And so is this simply an attempt to ram down one segment that they fear real debate on, ram
it down the throats of the Members of this Legislature and the citizens of this country, hiding it in this package, hoping that we won't get it?
What is worse is that this legislation has been brought to the floor without regard for any regular order. The nine new members on the Financial Services Committee will not get a chance to hear testimony on it at all. And in just the 2nd week of their term, 52 new Members of the House are expected to vote on it, having complicated deregulation shoved down their throats. Democrats offered 13 amendments, one of them bipartisan, but none of these amendments will be considered or debated. Why? Because
my colleagues on the other side are not interested in legislation but, rather, in political theater.
We cannot let this casual disregard for the legislative process stand. We want to see reforms sensibly implemented. We want to work with regulators to get the rules right, and we want our largest banks to stop gambling and go back to facilitating growth in the real economy. But that is difficult to do when my Republican counterparts continue pushing legislation that masquerades as technical fixes but really makes substantive changes to the Dodd-Frank reform law. And then they package completely
reckless legislation with other provisions that are either necessary or sensible.
Democrats know better, President Obama knows better, and the American people know better. So I would urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.