Chairman, House Financial Services Committee
In 2016, Jeb Hensarling led Republicans on the Financial Services Committee in the continued fight for greater economic opportunity on Main Street while demanding greater accountability for Washington and Wall Street. Sixty-six percent of all Committee measures were passed in the House (most with bi-partisan support), and among all House committees, Financial Services led the way on the number of bills signed into law.
Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs. The Financial CHOICE Act
The Dodd-Frank Act was enacted with the promise that it would promote financial stability, end too-big-to-fail, and boost our economy. But since its passage, the big banks have gotten bigger, the small banks have gotten fewer, and Washington bureaucrats have become more empowered and less accountable.
In 2016, Jeb offered the Financial CHOICE Act which represents a better way forward with opportunity for all and bank bailouts for none. Provisions of the bill would:
- Allow financial institutions that choose to meet higher, loss-absorbing capital requirements to gain relief from burdensome regulations.
- End too-big-to-fail and taxpayer bailouts by creating a new subchapter of the bankruptcy code specifically tailored to address the failure of a large financial institution.
- Demand greater accountability from Washington by putting financial regulatory agencies under congressional budget authority and oversight, while converting agencies presently headed by single partisan directors (like the CFPB) into bipartisan commissions.
- Demand greater accountability from Wall Street by imposing the toughest penalties in U.S. history for financial fraud and deception.
- Reduce regulatory barriers and increasing financing options to small businesses to reignite America’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Holding Washington and Wall Street Accountable Through Aggressive Oversight
As Chairman, Jeb used frequent hearings, investigative reports and subpoenas to hold the financial services industry and those who oversee the industry accountable to the American people. Thanks to these strong oversight efforts, Washington abuse and wrongdoing were exposed, including:
- The Department of Treasury misleading the public and Congress about the danger of default during the debt ceiling debate.
- The CFPB using junk science as justification to attack auto dealers for discriminatory lending practices.
- The Justice Department overruling recommendations to prosecute a major financial institution from criminal activity because of their concerns that the firm was too-big-to-fail.
Most Substantive Housing Reform in a Generation
The undeniable truth is that federal housing policy remains fractured, costly, inefficient and oftentimes does not help those that truly need it. The first major housing legislation in a generation was signed into law in 2016 – The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. This bipartisan bill reforms federal housing programs and substantially reduces burdens for state and local housing agencies and private owners to further key goals such as reducing homelessness, improving access to higher-opportunity neighborhoods, and addressing maintenance needs in public housing.
Jeb said the bill represented the start of a "very ambitious project to transform how we deliver government housing assistance in America and help people graduate to self sufficiency and financial independence."
Protecting American Interests From a Bad Deal with Iran
In 2016, Jeb charged the Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing with aggressively examining the financial aspects of the Administration’s flawed nuclear deal with Iran and bringing its details and ramifications to light, including:
- The nuclear agreement’s granting Iran over $100 billion in funds that would likely fund Iran’s terrorist proxies.
- Iran’s ability to regain access to the intentional banking system known as the SWIFT network which is the electronic bloodstream of the global financial system.
A number of Committee bills designed to protect American’s economic and security interests passed the House in the wake of the Iran agreement, including:
- Legislation to prohibit the administration from allowing the U.S. dollar to be used to facilitate trade transactions with Iran and upholds Iran’s designation as a “primary money laundering concern.”
- A new requirement that the Treasury Secretary develop and post online a list estimating the "funds and assets" held by senior Iranian political and military leaders, along with a description of how they acquired the assets and how those assets are employed.
- An amendment to current law to prohibit U.S. financial institutions from facilitating the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran.
Shaping our Future with Conservative Principles
A Better Way for America
At the direction of Speaker Paul Ryan, Jeb used his House leadership position to work with other Republicans to develop a policy platform for the post-Obama era. The Better Way Agenda seeks to address some of our nation’s biggest challenges with substantive conservative solutions.
This set of policy initiatives represented a distinct alternative from the policies of the Obama Administration – and a clear contrast for Republicans running in 2016. As we enter 2017, the Better Way Agenda is serving as a detailed roadmap for significant reforms to get our nation moving forward on six important fronts:
- Fight poverty by tying welfare to work and making sure it always pays for people to work and get on the ladder of opportunity.
- Keep our country safe by securing the border, restoring our traditional alliances and rebuilding our military so we can confront radical Islamist extremism.
- Grow the economy by developing our energy resources, ending bailouts and making rules produced by unelected bureaucrats go through Congress for a final vote before regulations go into effect.
- Restore the Constitution by restoring the separation of powers and setting higher standards for transparency and accountability.
- Repeal Obamacare so we can replace it with patient-centered solutions that empower you to pick the plan that meets your needs – not Washington’s mandates.
- Fix our tax code and make it fairer and simpler – so simple, in fact, that families can do their taxes on a form the size of a postcard.
Resetting the Constitutional Balance of Power
In Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers deliberately gave Congress “all legislative Powers.” Yet, for decades, Congress’ legislative powers have slowly been transferred to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in the executive branch. In 2016, Jeb Hensarling began co-leading an effort with Senator Mike Lee known as the Article I Project, which is working to restore Congress’ Constitutional powers and prerogatives just as the Founding Fathers intended. Initiatives in 2016 included:
- Setting an annual cap on the total economic burden that federal agencies’ rules and regulations can impose – and to give Congress the sole ability to set that cap.
- Ending federal judiciary rules that unfairly favor the federal government by requiring federal judges to give deference to the executive branch’s interpretation of laws and regulations.
- Stopping federal agencies from spending user fees without Congressional approval through the annual appropriations process.
Jeb supports efforts to reform our broken immigration/border security system. However, he does not support any effort that amounts to an amnesty proposal that gives legal advantages to people who came here illegally and does not require them to go back to their country of origin.
The United States is a nation of immigrants and should remain so, but we are also a nation of laws. Jeb will not support any reform bill that does not increase beyond existing law the level of protection we have at our borders, nor require illegal immigrants to repay back taxes they owed for the time they illegally spent in America.
While Jeb is sympathetic to those who come here to work hard in order to feed their families, illegal immigration is a flagrant violation of our laws. It threatens our national security and is unfair to all those who worked diligently to become American citizens the right way. We need a properly-constructed guest worker program.
To build it, it must pass a four-point test:
- no amnesty, which means there must be a legitimate touchback provision,
- individuals already waiting in immigration lines must go first — no cutting the line,
- immigrants must be economic benefits not economic liabilities, and
- we must do something about birthright citizenship.
As a life member of the National Rifle Association, Jeb is a firm believer in our right to bear arms.
Protecting the Dignity of Human Life
Jeb has been working to protect the rights of all Americans — including the rights of the unborn. Human life is a precious commodity that in today’s society is often taken for granted. Jeb believes in his heart and mind that life begins at conception and is working to make abortion rarer in America. In addition to making our nation’s laws more family-friendly and ensuring the dignity of human life, we must work to change hearts and minds as well.