CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Financial Services: In Depth

As a member of the Financial Services Committee that has jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to the banking system, housing, insurance, and securities and exchanges, my responsibility is to work to improve the regulatory apparatus, provide strong consumer protections, and increase access to capital for businesses to support a thriving economy.  In addition, I have been appointed to serve on the Subcommittee for Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee for Terrorism and Illicit Finance

Helping American Consumers

When I first took office in 2009, I immediately began working with my colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee to write the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, also known as Dodd-Frank. This landmark legislation was crafted amidst the wreckage of a disaster that threw more than eight million people out of work and obliterated nearly $16 trillion in American wealth. This was the most significant overhaul of our nation’s financial regulations in decades. This landmark law put in place tough new rules to protect consumers and monitor irresponsible behavior.

Unfortunately, we are now forced to defend against multiple efforts undo all of the protections we have instituted. Legislation has passed the House of Representatives to strip power away from the SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; make it easier for banks to gamble with taxpayer money by repealing the Volcker Rule; and opens the door for more bailouts. I will continue to fight against these attacks on behalf of American consumers and taxpayers.

Supporting Small Businesses

America’s small businesses are a powerful driving force in our economy, and Congress must do everything it can to establish a favorable business climate so that entrepreneurs can raise capital, hire more workers, and help grow the economy.

We need to make it easier for growing businesses to raise capital both publicly and privately to help them expand and create jobs.  That’s why I supported the JOBS Act and other legislation that will put more Americans to work. 

Housing Reform: A Better Deal for Middle Class Homeowners

At the epicenter of the financial crisis was the startling decline in the housing market.  As the housing market recovers, one of the my top priorities is to reform the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) so that they both continue to assist middle class families achieve the dream of home ownership and ensure that the American taxpayer is never again exposed to risky behavior in the housing market.  The federal government must maintain a limited role to provide oversight, protect taxpayers against losses, and ensure continued access to safe and affordable mortgage products, like traditional 30-year fixed mortgages.

To that end, I have helped to author the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership, a new housing finance reform proposal that will use private sector market forces to appropriately price risk while putting the scale and security of a government guarantee behind the program. This plan will create a housing finance system that is fair for borrowers, lenders, and taxpayers. Specifically, this legislation will:

  • allow the government to expand the capacity of housing finance while allowing the private sector to price the risk;

  • Create incentives for private capital’s market share in housing to grow over time;

  • Create a path for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be sold as independent companies without any government support or monopoly status; and

  • Create additional funds for low income housing.

I’m excited to join this effort to merge the efficiency of markets with the scale of government to create a safer, more liquid housing market that will help make housing more affordable while reining in the risk to our economy.