With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, the California representative is expected to become chairwoman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the nation’s banking system and its regulators.
Waters is no friend to the nation’s biggest banks and Wall Street, and has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and his administration. The congresswoman from California has called for more regulation of banks, and has opposed Trump’s political appointees moving to roll back regulations on banks and other financial services companies.
For example, Waters, along with several other Democrats, were “no” votes on a banking industry bill that rolled back several parts of the Dodd-Frank Act, the law passed under President Barack Obama that more tightly regulated banks after the financial crisis. In the Senate, the bill was supported by several Democrats and was signed into law this summer by Trump.
With a Republican-controlled Senate and Trump in the White House, it is unlikely Waters’ proposed regulations on banks will make it into law. However, it’s also much less likely that any substantial new deregulatory bills get through, either.
Where Waters and Democrats will likely have the most power will be in her subpoena and investigatory powers that come as head of the committee.
One particular target for Waters will likely be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since Republicans took over the watchdog agency last year, the CFPB has made many about-faces on rules and regulations that it wrote under the Obama.
The CFPB has not faced much congressional oversight since Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director and acting director of the CFPB, took over. Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger, who worked under Mulvaney in the Office of Management and Budget, to be the next permanent director of the Bureau. If she is confirmed, which is likely since Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate and extended their gains in Tuesday’s election, any moves she and the bureau make will likely come under increased scrutiny of Waters’ committee.