A published report is spotlighting a potential rift among Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee, alleging that Chair Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.] is not progressive enough for newer members, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [D-N.Y.] and Rep. Katie Porter [D-Calif.].
The tensions are rising as the committee is working on a number of important bills, including several related to debt collection.
The newer, more progressive members of the Committee are concerned that Rep. Waters and other Democrats are too moderate and “business-friendly,” according to the report, and that not enough is being done to pressure companies in the financial services industry and hold them accountable for their dealings and actions.
For example, prompted by Republican members of the committee, Rep. Waters has chastised Rep. Porter for using visual aids during committee hearings, including one during a September hearing on the debt collection industry. There, Rep. Porter was holding up a “Financial Services Bingo” card before being asked by Rep. Waters to put it down. Later, Rep. Porter went on a late night talk show to display the board, saying that “the chairwoman overruled my use of this.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged the tension, saying “there has been a tendency to give priority to ‘conservative seat needs’ out of protection for swing-state members,” according to the report.
Rep. Waters took over leadership of the committee in January 2019, after Democrats regained a majority in the House of Representatives. She has been a vocal critic of the leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under former acting director Mick Mulvaney and current director Kathleen Kraninger, and has advocated for additional consumer protections with respect to credit reports.