Friday, June 14, 2024

Banking CEOs Face Troubled Waters at Bizarre House Financial Hearing

‘Democrats’ barbs largely miss[ed] the mark or revealing a surprising lack of knowledge of the business of the big banks…’

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Maxine Waters/IMAGE: Twitter

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) One of President Donald Trump’s go-to targets for political lampooning prior to last year’s election, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has maintained a relatively low profile since taking over as chair of the House Financial Services Committee in January.

A recent hearing with the top executives from the nation’s seven biggest banks may help explain the silence: It seems Waters—and several other committee Democrats—are in way over heads.

“It was a disappointing day for anyone hoping Democrat House oversight of the banking industry might shed some light onto the risks and operations of America’s too-big-to-fail banks,” wrote Breitbart’s John Carney.

Following the ironic and amusing recent take-down of the Green New Deal by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Democrats have seethed that the GOP is unfairly mocking them and making hay of the Left’s outrageous rhetoric.

But Wednesday’s Financial Services hearing proved decisively that the Democrats, themselves, are their own worst enemy.

Many on the committee eschewed actual lines of inquiry to score political points over irrelevant matters like Russia collusion (which Waters asked about) and slavery reparations (Rep. Al Green, D-Texas).

“[M]uch of the questioning fell flat, with Democrats’ barbs largely missing the mark or revealing a surprising lack of knowledge of the business of the big banks,” Carney wrote.

Waters spent a portion of her allotted time at the hearing Wednesday grilling CEOs about the student loan crisis—a total debt of about $1.5 trillion nationwide that many borrowers wind up defaulting on.

The only problem was, the banks have nothing to do with the issue since President Barack Obama nationalized the student-loan industry 10 years ago.

The wasteful hearing—clocking in at nearly seven hours, including recesses—prompted a testy exchange late in the day between Waters and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after the latter requested to leave before the session had closed.

As the hearing dragged on past 5:30 p.m., Mnuchin—who said he had been sitting there for more than three hours—had another appointment with a foreign dignitary waiting in his office. Although he offered to reschedule for another time, Waters said that he already was expected to appear twice more in May.

Nonetheless, Waters may have come off as one of the more competent of the House Democrats on the panel.

Once a key figure in the “Impeach 45” movement, on which she campaigned heavily, Waters has since been eclipsed on her own committee by radical Democratic upstarts like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-NY, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

A press release sent out afterward by the committee Democrats even went so far as to trumpet the absurdity.

Among the inquisition’s more bizarre moments, as noted by the Democrats themselves:

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/IMAGE: screenshot via Twitter

• Financial ethics: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez—who has been embroiled in her own scandal after claims of illicitly hiding campaign contributions in a private slush-fund account and dodging taxes on a children’s book publishing business—accused Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat of having a callous disregard for financial regulations.

“Mr. Corbat, is a cost-benefit analysis that weighs the cost of government fines versus the potential financial upside of potentially breaking the law—does that factor into controversial decision making around misconduct at your bank?”

• Gun laws: After a lengthy lecture about gun violence, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, used the balance of her five minutes calling on the banks to prevent legal businesses from operating and potentially violate Second Amendment rights by demanding that they adopt “a formal policy that ensures responsible lending in your bank’s business with the gun industry”.

• Illegal immigration: Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., asked a question about illegal immigrants who maintain residency status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy: “I want to ask you first and then go down the line—one, if you hire them; and, secondly, if you help them in their renewals.”

• Women’s lib: Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., who created a delay by attempting to use a whiteboard in violation of committee rules, said banks had done an inadequate job of helping women: “Goldman Sachs’ big initiative is to help 10,000 [women]. Is this initiative missing a few zeros?”

• Slave reparations: Rep. Al Green asked, “Do you believe that your bank benefited from slavery in some way in terms of its business practices?”

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