Rounds Delivers Opening Remarks at Banking Hearing, Presses Nominees on Protecting American Families and Businesses
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today delivered opening remarks at a committee hearing on key nominations. Click HERE to listen to Rounds’ opening remarks.
“In the upper Midwest, producers rely on access to credit from their local credit unions and other financial institutions for the financing of their farming and ranching operations,” said Rounds in his opening remarks. “They feed the world.”
“We don’t need bureaucrats telling farmers, ranchers and the credit unions that support them how to run operations. Especially bureaucrats that believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows,” continued Rounds.
Rounds closed with, “Americans are frustrated, deeply frustrated by the actions of regulators that are hurting their businesses, families and interfering in their daily lives. It is our role in the Senate to scrutinize and evaluate each nominee who comes before this committee. The decisions you make in your respective roles, if confirmed, will have a bearing on the quality of life of American families.”
Read Rounds’ full remarks below, as prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to say welcome to all of the nominees. I commend each of you for your desire to serve the American people.
With six nominees today, I will try to move through each quickly.
Congressman Bachus – welcome back to Capitol Hill and congratulations on being renominated for a position on the Board of the Export-Import Bank.
The Export-Import Bank is a valuable tool for promoting U.S. exports, economic growth and job creation.
In the face of an increasingly competitive global market, I believe American companies must be able to effectively compete on the international stage.
I look forward to hearing ways you believe the EXIM Bank can continue to be effective, especially as countries like China bolster their own companies by guaranteeing export loans.
Mr. Uyeda, in your capacity as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission for the last year, you have been an independent voice of reason, pushing back against harmful policies that aim to overhaul our capital markets.
Over the last three years, under Chair Gensler's reign, the SEC has issued dozens of complex rulemakings that will hurt markets and investors.
Mr. Uyeda, I am confident that you will continue to act as that rational voice to promote policies that will strengthen our capital markets while protecting investors – not attempt to legislate through rulemaking.
Turning to Ms. Fain.
During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice and financial regulators initiated the controversial "Operation Choke Point."
This program aimed to pressure banks into withholding their services from completely legal industries that the Administration didn’t support, such as firearm manufacturers and payday lenders.
The FDIC's own Inspector General, the position for which you are nominated, determined that FDIC personnel singled out these businesses, in line with a widely held belief that senior FDIC officials disapproved of the businesses.
I fear that there are individuals in the Biden administration who still advocate for the core principle of Operation Choke Point, which involves the abuse of regulatory power to restrict financial access to lawful businesses that happen to be politically disfavored.
Ms. Fain, if confirmed, I'd charge you to use your 22 years of experience in federal oversight to make sure the FDIC adheres to its mission of promoting stability and public confidence in our financial system, rather than playing politics with American companies.
Ms. Otsuka, we know financial institutions are fully capable of pricing risks into their business decisions, including risks from changing customer preferences over time.
I am extremely concerned financial regulators are trying to allocate capital away from carbon-emitting industries, including agriculture, to those deemed to be sufficiently green.
For example, NCUA has warned that credit unions "may need to consider adjustments to their fields of memberships as well as the types of loan products they offer" because of climate change.
In the upper Midwest, producers rely on access to credit from their local credit unions and other financial institutions for the financing of their farming and ranching operations.
They feed the world.
Ms. Otsuka, as we discussed, I remain concerned about unintended consequences from the misapplication of climate financial risk considerations, especially if credit unions are pressured to unnecessarily avoid and/or reduce serving certain industries, like agriculture, if an examiner deems it too risky based on climate change.
We don’t need bureaucrats telling farmers, ranchers and the credit unions that support them how to run operations.
Especially bureaucrats that believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.
I look forward to discussing ways NCUA can engage with the agriculture community to protect their access to capital.
I also want to thank you for your service to Chairman Brown’s team and the Committee at large.
Finally, we have two nominees before us today who have been renominated to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) which serves as a liquidator for broker-dealers that experience financial trouble or are forced into bankruptcy and protects against the loss of cash and securities.
Since its creation, SIPC has helped to recover $141.8 billion in assets.
Ms. Slacik and Mr. Brodsky, I look forward to learning more from you during this hearing on your plans to protect American families.
I will note, that the Banking Committee's last SIPC oversight hearing took place in 2015 – I believe we should be more diligent in conducting our oversight role here so that the public has a better understanding of the functionality of SIPC.
I will close by saying that Americans are frustrated, deeply frustrated by the actions of regulators that are hurting their businesses, families and interfering in their daily lives.
It is our role in the Senate to scrutinize and evaluate each nominee who comes before this committee.
The decisions you make in your respective roles, if confirmed, will have a bearing on the quality of life of American families.
We are entrusting you with very real and serious responsibilities.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.