Brown Opening Statement at Banking Committee Executive Session

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, Chairman Crapo.  

I’m pleased we will approve the committee rules, budget resolution, and subcommittee membership and jurisdiction today. I also want to welcome our new members to the Committee—Senators Smith, Sinema, McSally and Cramer.  This year, I hope the Committee can focus on the workers who make our companies successful. 

Wall Street has too much power in this country. It’s no coincidence that executive compensation and stock buy-backs are exploding, while wages barely budge. There’s no dignity in work when four in ten Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency, while CEO bonuses have exploded. 

There’s no dignity in work when one in four renters spends more than half of their income on housing, while millionaires reap massive tax cuts. This Committee can do something about it.

 We need to address the housing affordability crisis in this country, and serving homeowners and renters should be the primary objective, not the byproduct of our housing finance discussions.

We need to ensure that the Consumer Protection Bureau is protecting families from payday lenders and others that prey on consumers. 

It’s been over a year and half since the breach at Equifax—which exposed millions of Americans personal data, and Congress still hasn’t done anything. We need to consider ways to better protect Americans’ personal data, give them more control over what is collected, and strengthen their rights when data is inaccurate. 

We have an opportunity to get the Export-Import Bank back up and running, supporting American manufacturers and American jobs. We need to invest in public transit and infrastructure that creates jobs and supports workers. 

And as agencies begin implementing S. 2155, we need to make sure they protect the stability of our financial system and the rights of consumers. We cannot afford to put taxpayers at risk again. 

I also look forward to continuing our bipartisan work to protect our national security and our democracy. 

Intelligence chiefs observed a week ago that Russia continued to interfere in the 2018 elections. We should continue to ratchet up pressure on Russia with new sanctions legislation. The Committee also passed strong sanctions on DPRK last Congress, and if current talks fail, we need to be ready to act. 

Chairman Crapo, these are some of the issues I look forward to working on with you and our colleagues. 

Thank you.  

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