Rep. Maxine Waters promises to retighten banking rules eased under Trump

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House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Thursday she plans to retighten financial regulations that were loosened under President Trump's administration, but House Democrats could have an uphill battle achieving that goal as their majority slips in the chamber.

"I'm putting our witnesses on notice that I will be working with the Biden administration to roll back these rules," Waters said at a hearing with top Trump appointees from the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Credit Union Administration.

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Waters criticized the Trump administration for forging ahead with policies unrelated to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to worsen in the coming months, and pursuing rule changes to benefit big banks and boost the economy. 

"I am very concerned that regulators have nonetheless issued numerous harmful deregulatory rules in the midst of the ongoing pandemic," she said in a statement.

She slammed the OCC's "harmful rule that badly undermines the Community Reinvestment Act," a federal regulation that encourages banks to lend to low- and moderate-income communities and prevents discrimination in loan services.

"Regulators have also moved to weaken the Volcker rule, which prevents banks from gambling with taxpayer money," Waters said, taking aim at Trump's attempts to loosen the restrictive Obama-era rule aimed at preventing banks from making risky investments. 

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"There have also been a number of troubling rule-makings to weaken capital and other prudential requirements for the nation’s largest banks," she added. 

"Under President Biden’s leadership, our financial regulators will and must be diverse," Waters said. "We are emerging from the dark days of the Trump administration into the dawn of a new progressive America, where pro-consumer and pro-investor policies will always be first on the agenda."

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., pushed back on Waters' promises and dared her to get stricter financial regulations through a House that saw their 35-seat majority dwindle significantly to Republicans this election cycle. 

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"I don't see the election outcome as this vote for the woke left policy agenda of House progressives," McHenry said. "Anything but that. We have more Republicans in the next Congress in the House of Representatives because, quite frankly, the far left went so far. While you may have had some successes in the election, I don't think it's a wide endorsement of a far-left policy agenda, the chair noted."

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