Waters Outlines Agenda Should She Take Control of Powerful Financial Services Committee

Rep. Maxine Waters questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said banks "are a little bit worried that the Republicans will not perhaps be in charge" heading into today's vote, as Democrats taking back the House majority would likely mean she would be in charge of the House Financial Services Committee.

The current chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), is among the powerful House GOPs who chose to retire this year instead of run for re-election. The most senior Republican on the panel after Hensarling is Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).

"This is America. We solve our political differences at the ballot box," Hensarling said after package bombs were sent to select targets late last month, including to Waters. "Those who oppose our views are just that, opponents, not enemies, and they share in common the title of American citizen.”

A priority under Hensarling's leadership has been dialing back the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; it was partially repealed with dozens of exemptions issued to U.S. banks through a bill passed by the House in May and signed into law.

Waters told MSNBC on Monday evening that she would have her own priorities if she led the committee, including reforms that support Dodd-Frank.

"The banks, the big banks, the small banks, we have the insurance companies, we have all of HUD, we have the International Monetary Fund, we have to deal with some issues that have not been dealt with properly for a long time. We've got to deal with the National Flood Insurance Program. We've got to deal with the EXIM Bank. And so it is an important committee," Waters said.

"And, you know, at the top of my agenda is dealing with the reform of Fannie and Freddie, and trying to make sure that we do something about the housing crisis. But, of course, I have to make sure that we never again, to the best of my ability, fall into what happened to us in 2008 when we had the exotic loans that were, you know, given to people in this country; many people lost their homes," she added. "But, of course, many of the people who lost their homes were in communities that were targeted by some of the biggest banks in America."

"So, we have all of those financial services issues, and there is a lot of work to do. And I'm hopeful that certainly we will take back the House and that my colleagues will see fit to support me to chair that committee."

Waters said that as Democrats have tried "to bring about some fairness and some justice with these financial services companies... they see that the Republicans are certainly more friendly to them, and certainly more supportive of their ability to continue the way they have continued historically."

"The banks really have controlled the Congress of the United States of America. And many of our colleagues have said, oh, you know, all that's complicated. We don't understand derivatives. We don't know what they're talking about when they talk about Volcker. And so they have gotten away with, you know, the kind of language that they use, in the way they produce their products," she said. "And so many of our colleagues have just shied away from that and let them do what they want to do. And so they have enjoyed being in charge of, you know, all of their issues in the House of Representatives and in the Senate."

Asked about what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would do if speaker of the House again, Waters said "there's always talk about you know, cleaning up you know, politics -- cleaning up what goes on in the Congress of the United States."

"So it's a continuation of talking about what do we do to become better legislators, to become better policymakers," the congresswoman said. "What do we do to get the confidence of the people back again?"