House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, told hundreds of NAFCU Congressional Caucus attendees Tuesday that the goal of his committee is to "help create a healthier economy with greater opportunity for all, built from Main Street up, not Congress down."
Achieving that goal requires a strong housing finance system in the country, he said, which will only happen when the federal government has a clearly defined role in the system, arbitrary rules that keep people out are eliminated and consumers are given clear information to make their decisions.
Hensarling said government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played a central role in the financial meltdown, and they need to be replaced by a competitive market that's not backed at taxpayers' expense.
Hensarling also drew attention to another issue he's currently spearheading – reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP "incentivizes people to live in harm's way," using taxpayer resources to subsidize high-risk decisions, Hensarling asserted. By allowing private insurers into the market and reforming risk disclosure rules, Hensarling expects costs to decrease for both the government and consumers.
In addition to Hensarling, House Financial Services Committee members French Hill, R-Ark., Denny Heck, D-Wash., subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and subcommittee Ranking Member Lacy Clay, D-Mo., commended attendees on the work they and their credit unions do for the American people. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., was unable to make it due to Hurricane Irma, but his chief of staff gave remarks on his behalf.
On top of housing finance, the lawmakers also addressed these issues:
Perlmutter also touched on the need for marijuana banking in states such as his that have legalized the drug. You can read more about the complexities surrounding the issue in this month's NAFCU Compliance Monitor.
NAFCU's Caucus will wrap up today in Washington. Follow the hashtag #NAFCUCaucus on Twitter for the latest information.