The Democratic leadership of the House Financial Services Committee is pursuing a purely partisan agenda and is pushing dead-on-arrival legislation that will not help Americans weather the coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, the committee’s ranking Republican, charged Thursday.
“Since June 3, 2020, the Committee has focused on pursuing a purely partisan agenda,” McHenry wrote in a letter to committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). “There have been no bipartisan policy discussions. No overtures to reach across the aisle. No willingness to entertain, let alone find bipartisan solutions.”
The Financial Services Committee traditionally has been a highly partisan committee, regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans controlled the majority.
McHenry is particularly incensed that Waters has scheduled a July 23 hearing on the “HEROES Act,” the House-passed economic stimulus legislation.
That $3 trillion, 1,800-page bill includes about $1 trillion in aid to states and local government, as well as extended unemployment benefits and additional stimulus payments to taxpayers. It also would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions providing services to marijuana-related business. The measure asks for additional funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions program.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has said that the Senate will not consider the bill.
As a result, McHenry accused Waters of wasting the committee’s time.
“Highlighting bills that have no chance of becoming law only exacerbates the anguish experienced by the nearly 18 million Americans who are officially unemployed and the 33 million who are currently receiving unemployment benefits,” he said.
The letter comes as congressional leaders are about to begin the process of hammering out the next economic stimulus bill. Democrats have been pushing for an extension of the expanded unemployment payments enacted in response to the coronavirus crisis. Those benefits expire at the end of July. Republicans have been reluctant to extend those benefits, contending that they encouraged people not to seek work.