/  Ranking Member Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 2773, H.R 2543 and H.R. 7606

Ranking Member Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 2773, H.R 2543 and H.R. 7606

As delivered during today's hearing:

Today’s hearing covers three items. The first I’ll discuss is H.R. 2773, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2022. This bill provides grant funding for states and tribes to protect endangered, threatened and otherwise vulnerable species.

Although I am a co-sponsor of this bill and am supportive, I understand my Republican colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee have concerns, particularly with the failure to provide a funding offset or sunset provision. Certainly, that is a concern I share myself, and I think the Majority should have continued working with Republicans to find a solution for this new spending. I look forward to hearing additional testimony on this matter today.

The second bill I’ll discuss, H.R. 2543, is a package of bills coming out of the Financial Services Committee. I believe this package of bills will have unintended consequences that will be deeply harmful to consumers and borrowers.

For example, the package requires the Federal Reserve to shift away from its traditional focus of maximizing sustainable employment, price stability and low to moderate long-term interest rates. The package would instead politicize the independence of the Federal Reserve. 

Other provisions are equally troublesome. Instead of requiring regulators to ensure that depository institutions are properly capitalized and properly regulated, as they should be doing, federal banking regulators will now be required to police a variety of woke metrics and unnecessary reports

Ultimately, these measures are likely to do more harm than good. They will create uncertainty among regulators, financial institutions and the overall credit market, which will drive up costs for all borrowers and ensure, once again, that banks are wasting their time on federally mandated reports and appeasing federal bureaucrats rather than making credit more accessible and affordable. 

I remind my friends of the significant administrative costs banks and credit unions were required to take on in order to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill before us would only add to those administrative burdens without providing customers any new services or any new assurance that their financial institution will be better equipped to weather financial storms. I urge my colleagues to rethink this package and these ideas before it is too late.

Lastly, the committee will also consider H.R. 7606, a package of bills from the Agriculture and Energy and Commerce Committees ostensibly aimed at protecting the agricultural supply chain from disruptions and reducing the historic levels of inflation that have now reached a 40-year high.

Sadly, this package was a missed opportunity for bipartisanship. I understand that most of the bills in this package either have Republican support or could have been the subject of negotiation. Unfortunately, rather than doing the hard work of negotiating with Republicans on a comprehensive package that can get bipartisan support, the Majority instead chose to go it alone and opted to include a partisan poison pill that ensures that most, if not all, Republicans cannot support this legislation.

The poison pill provision I mentioned would create a duplicative and unfunded office within the Department of Agriculture that is granted special powers to initiate litigation on its own authority against meat packers and poultry dealers. This is contrary to existing law and practice and duplicates existing offices that already have the power to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act. Indeed, the last thing we need right now are more unfunded mandates and uncontrollable bureaucrats with the power to haul people into court.

It is disappointing that the Majority is now belatedly bringing forward bills in an attempt to deflect away from the Biden Administration’s historic failures that have led us to this point. But instead of taking action to protect supply chains, reduce regulatory burdens and lower inflation, the Majority and the Biden Administration are instead pointing fingers and bringing up messaging bills that will only make these problems worse.

We can do better than this, Mr. Chairman. America expects us to do better. I urge my colleagues to reject this package and instead focus on real regulatory reforms that will prevent gridlock, restore the supply chain and ensure costs begin to come down for beleaguered consumers, who are rapidly watching more and more of their paychecks evaporate at the gas pump and the grocery store each week as inflation soars higher and higher.

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Created: June 13, 2022