WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following opening statement at today’s executive session hearing on nominations to the Federal Reserve, FDIC and FSOC: 

Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for convening this meeting today to consider the nomination of three individuals to serve critical roles in our financial regulatory system.

The FDIC is responsible for protecting $7 trillion worth of peoples’ deposits, and guarding our financial system from another crisis.  When big banks crater the economy, working people lose their jobs and homes, and community banks fail.

The next person to chair the FDIC is inheriting a sound banking system built on 10 years of prudent management by Republican and Democratic officials.  I caution the next Chair not to deviate from a path that has served our economy well.

Ms. McWilliams has a deep background in banking and I hope she will follow the example of her predecessors. 

I cannot, however, support Dr. Goodfriend’s nomination today.

While I appreciate his long academic career studying monetary policy, I cannot brush aside concerns about Dr. Goodfriend’s long-held, and often-repeated, views.

While Dr. Goodfriend at the nomination hearing paid lip service to Fed independence and its mandate to fight unemployment, it ultimately rang hollow given his years advocating the opposite.

The stakes are too high for workers and for the economy.  We can’t take a chance on someone with a decades-long record of prioritizing hypothetical inflation over real people losing their jobs.

Dr. Goodfriend likewise has a troubling record on regulatory policy, endorsing House legislation that would gut Dodd-Frank and the CFPB.  The Fed has a critical role to play in stopping big banks like Wells Fargo from harming customers and the economy.  Dr. Goodfriend’s support of harmful legislation that would give that bank and others a free pass shows he does not belong at the Fed.

I will support Mr. Workman’s nomination today.

I received many notes from people back home in Ohio who know Tom Workman, and assured me of his professionalism and knowledge of the insurance industry.

I hope that he fulfils his mandate to be an independent voice on the FSOC.  Secretary Mnuchin has made clear his intent to undermine the Council’s role in protecting our economy from emerging financial risks. 

Whether it is the vote to deregulate AIG, the abandonment of the MetLife case, or the slashing of FSOC and Office of Financial Research staff, it’s clear that the Treasury Department is looking to undercut the FSOC.  I will be keeping a close eye on the Council, and I expect Mr. Workman to use his platform to speak up and call attention to problems when he spots them.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.