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Hensarling Fights to Keep Washington Accountable to East Texans


WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05) was in Jacksonville on Thursday for a town hall meeting to update the citizens of Cherokee County on his continued efforts to hold Washington accountable to the American people.

“Washington politicians look at our struggling economy and assume the magic elixir to our nation’s woes is more regulation and more regulators with the power to decide what is best for Americans. East Texans look at the state of our economy and realize Washington’s ‘fix’ is what got us into this mess in the first place.

“As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee,” Hensarling said, “my number one goal has been more jobs and a healthier economy for all. That means we’ve got to root out the job-choking red tape that hurts our economy, stifles competition, and erodes free enterprise. It means proposing solutions that alleviate the heavy burdens these regulations impose, and protecting American consumers by holding Washington accountable."

One of those Washington regulators is the CFPB – perhaps the most powerful and least accountable government agency in the history of the republic. The CFPB and its unelected director were given unbridled, discretionary power over everyday financial products like credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages. Not only does this agency have the power to make these products less available and more expensive, it has the power make them completely unavailable to East Texas consumers. At the same time, the CFPB is collecting massive amounts of Americans’ personal financial data – data on 53 million mortgages, 991 million credit cards, and 8.6 million credit reports to date – all stored in a database the CFPB has acknowledged is not secure. All the while, the CFPB is also spending $140 million dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money to renovate an office building it doesn’t even own. If the CFPB isn’t the very definition of Washington waste and abuse, I don’t know what it is. That is why the House passed H.R. 3193, the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act—a package of common-sense reforms designed to make the CFPB more accountable and transparent to the American people.

“This bill is just one of the roughly 20 bipartisan regulatory relief bills the Financial Services Committee has steered to passage in the House over the last 15 months. These bills are designed to help provide regulatory relief to East Texas job creators and community financial institutions that are struggling under the massive red-tape burden of the Dodd-Frank Act. The committee has also engaged in rigorous oversight of the Federal Reserve to bring more accountability and transparency to the bank.”

Hensarling also talked about what is on the horizon for his committee in the next few months. “East Texans are tired of the ‘Washington insider economy,’ where success is secured through government-granted favors to elites who have the best political connections. This practice of government picking winners and losers is a destructive, immoral force that misdirects resources, breeds corruption, and undermines the legitimacy of both our government and free enterprise. In a word, it isn’t fair.

The next battle between the Washington insider economy and America’s free enterprise Main Street economy will center on the Export-Import Bank, which is something I’ve devoted my time in Congress to fighting.

The bank, whose charter is up for reauthorization before the Financial Services Committee later this year, is a source of corporate welfare that puts taxpayers at risk in order to lower costs for a few big corporations to sell their goods overseas. Previously, the bank has provided taxpayer-backed financing to oil-rich Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates and to Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Pem-Ex.

Roughly 80 percent of the bank’s loan guarantees for fiscal year 2012 going to a single company, the Export-Import bank is the very definition of cronyism.

“Rather than defend corporatist boondoggles like the Export-Import Bank, Congress should stand up for free enterprise and the Main Street economy. We should be working to make businesses more competitive by repealing Obamacare and Dodd-Frank and reducing the tsunami of red tape unleashed by other Obama regulatory agencies. We should work for fundamental tax reform that creates a fairer, flatter, simpler tax code that makes Cherokee County businesses more competitive. This is what the people of East Texas want and deserve, and this is what I will continue fighting for,” Hensarling concluded.

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