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 Monetary Policy and Trade.
During my first term in Congress, I was proud to help write the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), which creates robust consumer protections and helps ensure taxpayers are never again on the hook to bail out large financial institutions. Dodd-Frank gives federal regulators the authority to take preemptive corrective action to assess risk exposure and curb financial activity that jeopardizes the stability of the economy. Furthermore, it allows consumers to participate in the financial markets on a fair and transparent playing field.
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 recently announced a new housing finance reform proposal along with Reps. Delaney and Carney 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, our legislation will:
- allow the government to expand the capacity of housing finance while allowing the private sector to price all of 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.
Click here to learn more about the Delaney-Carney-Himes housing finance proposal.
Helping American 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.
Last Congress, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act (JOBS Act), a bill I helped write and that the President suggested as part of his effort to promote entrepreneurship. The JOBS Act will make it easier for growing businesses to raise capital, both publicly and privately, which will help them expand and create jobs. The new law puts more decisions in the hands of business owners so they can continue to grow while easing into the responsibilities associated with increasing the number of people who have invested in the company.
Among the bill’s provisions is one I authored that will help community banks provide resources to local businesses so they can grow their companies and create jobs. The legislation increases the number of shareholders permitted to invest in a community bank before it must register with the SEC, which will make it easier for community banks to raise capital to lend to businesses.
As we seek creative solutions to our nation’s jobs crisis, we should look to changes like these that improve the business climate without harming our environment, eliminating health protections, or reducing our ability to invest in the education and infrastructure we know are critical to long-term prosperity. As a Member on the Financial Services Committee, it is my job to find those improvements, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make America an even better place to do business.