One of the fiercest critics of deregulation may lead House finance committee

by Ryan Smith07 Nov 2018

With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election, one of the fiercest critics of the Trump administration’s deregulation is set to head the influential Financial Services Committee.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), currently the ranking Democrat on the committee, will likely become committee chair when the 116th Congress is seated in January. The current chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), did not seek reelection.

Waters has said that reforming housing finance would be one of the committee’s top priorities should she assume the chair. She has also stated that another top priority would be to undo the changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wrought by Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.

Waters has long been a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda. She has repeatedly demanded increased regulation for big banks, and last fall led committee Democrats in calling for Wells Fargo to be shut down following a number of scandals, CNBC reported. She’s pledged to pursue tougher fines on financial institutions that violate the law.

Waters was also a vocal critic of Trump’s decision to pick Mulvaney as interim head of the CFPB, going so far as to file an amicus brief in an unsuccessful court action to block Mulvaney’s appointment.

While it’s unlikely that Democrats will be able to make any major legislative changes while the Senate and the executive branch remain in Republican hands, some investors worry that Waters could use her subpoena power to harry financial institutions, CNBC reported.

Waters is also vocal in her distaste for Trump – even for a Democrat. She has repeatedly called for the president to be impeached, according to CNBC. Trump, meanwhile, has called Waters “crazy” and an “extraordinarily low IQ person.”

“I don’t care what he calls me,” Waters said at a recent CNBC Capital Exchange event. “I know who I am. I know what I do. I am perfectly comfortable with me. He can call me whatever he wants to – he does not intimidate me, and I am not going to stop talking about him.”

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