WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – delivered the following opening statement at today’s Executive Session.
Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank Chairman Crapo for scheduling this markup and advancing the Committee’s nominees.
As I stated last week, leadership matters. Since then, almost 20,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, sending the total to nearly 160,000. This Administration has abandoned its duty to the American people with tragic consequences.
The three nominees we are considering today must show the leadership the president has lacked, and commit to working for a financial system that protects working families, instead of taking advantage of them. Their job is to put the people we serve first – not only during this time of financial and economic stress, but all the time.
If Commissioner Peirce and Ms. Crenshaw are confirmed, the public will trust them to always keep in mind whose side they are on, and to understand how hard Americans are working to save and invest for retirement, to send their kids to college, or to buy a home. We want our markets to be fair and available to everyone, but that doesn’t mean rolling back important safeguards. As Commissioners, if they don’t put those families first, who will? Not Wall Street banks, we know that.
I will support the SEC nominees, but call on them to stay grounded in the struggles workers and families face and to put those families first.
Mr. Hauptman has been nominated to serve as a member of the NCUA Board, but I am concerned about Mr. Hauptman’s experience and qualifications to be one of the top regulators of credit unions in this country.
If confirmed, Mr. Hauptman would oversee over 5,000 credit unions that serve 121 million members. They are often community-based institutions, serving customers that banks and other financial institutions leave behind, like middle-income and low-income workers, women, and Black and brown communities.
His testimony and answers to questions at the hearing and for the record do not provide any details on what types of policies he will advocate for to actually help the credit union members he would serve. He says technology can help people who have been left behind by our banking system, but has failed to provide any examples of how that should be accomplished.
Instead of laying out specific ideas to help credit unions and their members, Mr. Hauptman praises Netflix as an example of the benefits of innovation – calling it the ultimate solution to Blockbuster’s late fees and market dominance. I wonder if he’s aware of reports of a toxic work culture at Netflix, or if he just doesn’t care.
And Big Tech companies dominate the market in a way that Blockbuster could never dream of, driving smaller companies out of business and amassing huge amounts of personal data, exploiting our privacy and our civil rights for financial gain. He fails to recognize that “innovation” is often just a shiny new way to exploit workers and target consumers with the same predatory products and services.
If his previous work and positions are any indication, he will be another advocate for rolling back important financial safeguards – another voice for the powerful and the privileged, who have more than their share of influence already.
We need public servants who will actually serve the public, especially now. If confirmed, I expect all of the nominees to make sure this public health crisis doesn’t turn into a financial crisis. It’s your responsibility to make sure we have a fair financial system that works for everyone.
Thank you, Chairman Crapo.