At its January 14 organizational meeting, the House Committee on Financial Services agreed on a party line vote to give Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) unilateral power to authorize and issue subpoenas. Until now, the Financial Services Chair could only issue subpoenas to require officials to testify or to receive official documents if a majority of Committee members voted to do so.
Committee Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) objected to the proposal for unilateral subpoena power. She said, “By fundamentally usurping the ability of our Committee members to vote on issuing subpoenas, and handing that authority to one individual, we are stripping each and every member of this Committee – except the Chairman – of a core function, that profound responsibility of overseeing the agencies and entities within the jurisdiction of our Committee.”
The Committee did adopt an amendment from Ms. Waters to require Chair Hensarling to give her 48 hours’ notice before authorizing and issuing a subpoena.
At the same Committee meeting, Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) was officially named the new chair of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. Who will serve as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance has yet to be announced.
The Committee has scheduled its first mark-up on January 21, at which it will consider its oversight plan. The plan covers areas in which the Committee and its Subcommittees expect to conduct oversight during the 114th Congress. The draft oversight plan includes most HUD programs, but does not identify specific issues. The draft plan also broadly describes the Committee’s intention to monitor Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Rural Housing Service, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, and the Community Reinvestment Act.
The oversight plan mark-up will be at 2:00 pm ET in HVC-210 of the House Visitors’ Center.
Ranking Member Waters’ statement on new subpoena authority is at http://democrats.financialservices.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398776
The Committee’s draft oversight plan is at http://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/114thcongressovplan.pdf