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Waters shakes up House Financial Services subcommittee chairs

Himes and Perlmutter to lead subcommittees

House Financial Services Chairwoman Waters named two new subcommittee chairmen Tuesday.
House Financial Services Chairwoman Waters named two new subcommittee chairmen Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters announced her leadership team Tuesday, reshuffling assignments and naming two new subcommittee chairmen.

Jim Himes of Connecticut and Ed Perlmutter of Colorado will head the National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee and the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, respectively. Himes is replacing Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., who will now take over the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance. That chair was vacated by Cleaver’s fellow Missourian, former Rep. William Lacy Clay, who lost his primary last year to Rep. Cori Bush.  

Perlmutter is taking the reins from New York Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, who took the gavel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this year following former Rep. Elliot Engel’s primary loss to Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.

Rep. Brad Sherman of California will retain his chairmanship of the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets Subcommittee, Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio will keep her Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee gavel, and Rep. Al Green of Texas will remain chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

Waters, D-Calif., has not yet said who will lead two task forces the committee created last Congress, one on fintech and the other on artificial intelligence, or even if she will keep them.

Republicans have not yet announced their committee membership or subcommittee ranking members.

Perlmutter spent much of the last session pushing legislation to allow financial institutions to serve state-licensed cannabis companies. Colorado legalized recreational weed in 2012, but the growers and dispensaries in the state have to largely operate as a cash-only business. That’s because it is still illegal at the federal level, which would put banks working with those businesses at risk of running afoul of money-laundering laws.

Perlmutter’s bill passed the House in 2019, but attempts to get it included in last December’s COVID-19 package fell short.

Himes, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has a reputation of asking pointed questions of Federal Reserve officials and banking executives at hearings.

Cleaver represents Kansas City, which like many urban areas, faces a shortage of affordable housing.

There will be a few new faces on the coveted Financial Services Committee. Waters said last week that Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York, Nikema Williams of Georgia and Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts would sit on the panel. Besides Clay, Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah lost reelection, Tulsi Gabbard retired, and Denny Heck of Washington ran successfully for lieutenant governor.

Torres will join the Consumer Protection, Housing and National Security subcommittees. Auchincloss will take seats on the National Security, and Diversity and Inclusion subcommittees. Williams is taking spots on the Diversity and Inclusion, and Oversight and Investigations subcommittees.

A few other Democrats won’t rejoin the House Financial Services Committee in the 117th. California Democrat Katie Porter was denied a waiver to keep her spot after being added to the Oversight Committee in 2019 and holding a seat on Natural Resources. Most members are limited to two committees.

Videos of Porter using Financial Services hearings to grill Wall Street executives and Trump administration officials repeatedly went viral, driving huge fundraising that helped Democrats retain a seat they flipped in 2018. According to the Center of Responsive Politics, Porter raised $16.4 million in the 2020 election cycle, making her the fourth-highest fundraiser among House Democrats and ninth overall.

Virginia Representative Jennifer Wexton traded her spot on Financial Services for one on the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota was also left off Waters’ committee roster last week. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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