Today (February 1st), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, delivered a speech on the House floor opposing H.Con.Res.9 “Denouncing the horrors of socialism.”
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the Committee on Financial Services we organized and considered the Committee’s oversight plan. We debated homelessness and the lack of affordable housing, how to best protect consumers, and the need to strengthen diversity and inclusion across the financial services industry. We also discussed the threat to our nation’s future if our country is forced to default on our debt four months from today. We didn’t always agree and honestly, none of the Democratic amendments were adopted, but it was a civil debate about the merits of policy. I believe all of our Committee members recognize that the legislation that comes out of our Committee has the potential to support wealth creation, grow small businesses, support affordable housing and build a stable financial system and economy.
It is the contrast with the intentionality and seriousness of the debate yesterday that makes it so hard to understand why the very first piece of legislation to come to the floor under a rule is not a proposal to address the needs of any of our constituents, to provide support to struggling small businesses, or the community banks and credit unions that finance them. And, it certainly doesn’t provide our markets with certainty that our country won’t act recklessly and default on its debts, a situation that will bring untold harm to all of us in America.
No, Mr. Speaker, this resolution today in fact does nothing except spread lies and fear about a threat that does not even exist. The right-wing extremists who are running this House have forced my Committee to consider as its first very piece of legislation a bill that tries to say that our country will collapse in ruin because of…wait for it…Social Security. The Resolution suggests that because we support seniors with health insurance, our democracy will crumble. They think that because Congress and the President have provided disaster relief to communities that have been burned by historic wildfires or flooded by once in a generation hurricane, that we will fall into ruin. No, Mr. Speaker, Americans take pride in the ways that we come together to do everything from building schools to sending a man to the Moon.
Mr. Speaker, Americans know better than the fear mongering we see here today. They know, for example, that when the pandemic hit and people were dying all across this country, it was the federal government that stepped in to provide trillions of dollars of support to small businesses, workers, renters, students, seniors, and would you believe it…even Republican Members of Congress. In fact, the government, using taxpayer dollars, provided $14 million in PPP loans to a number of House Republicans, who asked and then guess what? Received debt forgiveness.
Now, some Republicans have tried to suggest that voting against this resolution is saying that you support dictators like Pol Pot, Mao Zedong or Stalin, which is ridiculous. No one in this Chamber supports them, but do you know which dictator my extremist colleagues refused to condemn? Oh, they didn’t say anything about Hitler. Mr. Speaker, you’ve heard of him, right?
My colleague, Mr. Gottheimer noticed that somehow the Republicans forgot to condemn Hitler and offered an amendment to denounce his atrocities and mass murder. But Republicans rejected it. And I think we know why. Donald Trump, the true leader of the Republicans and North Star for House Republicans, was reported to have frightened his own staff by saying that Hitler had done some good things.
There is only one would-be authoritarian who refused to accept the will of our voters and peacefully transfer power after losing his election. Instead, he incited a violent insurrection on January 6th to block the election’s certification that was happening in this very chamber, but you won’t see his name in this resolution or his strongman pals that he loves so much in Russia and China.
Mr. Speaker, we are a great nation not because we let everyone fend for themselves, but because we care for one another. We are a great nation that comes together as communities as small as towns and as large as the whole nation to decide to organize and collectively pay for fire departments, public schools, libraries, hospitals, roads and bridges, and a military. We are a better nation because we have programs that we love. We love Social Security and Medicare, and we’re going to fight every inch of the way to make sure we keep Social Security and Medicare. We’re not going to let the opposite side of the aisle take away our seniors’ Social Security and Medicare. I’ll say it again: Social Security and Medicare! We are a better nation because our form of capitalism includes regulatory safeguards and strong cops on the beat patrolling our financial system, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mr. Speaker, I urge you and the Majority to stop these divisive “gotcha” tactics, get out of the way and let my Committee and this Congress pass real legislation that puts the needs of our constituents and nation first.
I reserve the balance of my time.