I have the privilege of serving on the House Committee on Financial Services which oversees the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries. The committee also oversees the work of the Federal Reserve, the Department of Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other financial services regulators. I serve on two subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Before serving in Congress, I worked for a finance investment company in Chicago and am credentialed in Financial Industry Regulator Authority (FINRA) Series 6, 7 and 63. As a state legislator, I had the distinct pleasure of serving on the Illinois House Financial Institutions Committee between 1999 and 2007 and on the Illinois Senate Financial Institutions Committee between 2007 and 2010.
Growing up my family ran a small business, and I have seen first-hand how crippling government regulations can be on the economy and how much businesses depend on financial institutions to help them achieve the American dream.
In my short time on the committee, I have been committed to supporting policies that boost our economy and strengthen America’s free enterprise system. Community and regional banks play an important role in the small towns of the 14th District. The ability to have an idea and grow it through the free market is a key part of what makes this nation great. We need to put in place common sense policies to put Americans back to work while ensuring that we get government out of the way of small businesses.
Protecting Municipal Finance
The availability of municipal bonds has allowed our nation’s state and local governments to finance more than $1.65 trillion in infrastructure improvements and construction over the last decade. These tax-exempt products are a common investment for many institutions and individuals, and the vitality of this market is necessary for our local economies and national economic recovery.
At its heart, a municipal bond preserves federalism by allowing local communities to raise their own funds tax-free and carry out their own improvements without the help or intrusion of the federal government. Communities can invest locally, gain locally and prosper locally without kowtowing to the heavy hand of the federal government.
In Illinois, our cities and towns rely on municipal bonds to expand and refit facilities, like schools and hospitals. They are a key to reviving our country’s tired and worn infrastructure. In the 14th Congressional District, municipal bonds helped fund a water main extension in Sugar Grove and build a bridge over the Fox River in St. Charles, reducing congestion and improving emergency vehicle access in the surrounding area.
The very existence of this most important economic development tool is now being threatened due to abuse. Bonds were designed as a tool that invests in the future, not one to pay the debts of the past.
To protect this vital tool for communities, I hosted a municipal finance roundtable at the University of Illinois at Chicago featuring a great cross-section of bond issuers and investors. To learn more about the roundtable, please click here.
Previously, I worked with Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger to send a letter along with 137 of our colleagues to House leadership urging them to reject any cap or elimination of the deduction on tax-exempt municipal bonds.
Additionally, Illinois’ manufacturing sector is an economic staple, employing more than 500,000 workers and producing billions in economic output a year. Protecting tax-exempt industrial bonds that can help manufacturers pay for new land, buildings and equipment.
While I’m looking for ways to call out and limit abuses by bad actors, voters have the ultimate control over spend-happy politicians at all levels of government. The debt we take on today will have to be paid sometime. But local communities should not be punished for the bad decisions of others. The survival and reinforcement of municipal finance is vital to the 14th District and the nation.
Helping Farmers, Manufacturers Plan Ahead in Uncertain Times
When times get tough for farmers and manufacturers, they rely on financial products like swaps to weather the uncertainty. In its rush to address the financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act unfortunately spun off these swaps into less transparent and less stable entities.
In the 113th Congress, I introduced H.R. 992, the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act, which amends the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure that entities that rely on certain types of swaps to persevere during uncertain times would continue to have affordable and stable access to these essential financial products. Main Street customers rely on their long-standing relationships with trusted financial institutions, and manufacturers and farmers should have reliable and affordable access to the financial products they rely on to deal with market volatility.
H.R. 992 gives these Main Street customers a fuller range of services from their banks that allow them to face the future with confidence. I was pleased my bill passed the House on October 30, 2013 with a bipartisan vote of 292-122.
More on Financial Services
Campton Hills, IL — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced he is now accepting applications for Summer 2017 internships in his Washington, D.C., Campton Hills and forthcoming McHenry office. The position is unpaid and will run approximately from May through August. Academic credit may be available and schedules can be flexible for those with classes or other obligations. Applicants from the 14th Congressional District are preferred. Applications are due by March 31, 2017.
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) has cosponsored the Financial Transparency Act of 2017 (H.R. 1530), a bill to ensure U.S. financial regulators—such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)—adopt open, searchable and consistent data reporting standards.
Washington, DC — As Congress prepares to take on the issue of comprehensive tax reform, Congressmen Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Municipal Finance Caucus, have again sent a bipartisan letter to leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee in support of a critical tool that helps local and state governments finance new roads, schools, hospitals, fire stations and more.
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to open up more opportunities for employees to share a stake in the companies they work for every day. The Encouraging Employee Ownership Act (EEOA), H.R. 1343, cuts through red tape and eases the ability of companies to offer ownership to their hardworking employees. Rep. Hultgren was joined by original cosponsors Reps. John Delaney (D-MD-06), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-09), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) and Tom MacArthur (R-NJ-03).
Washington, DC — U.S. Representatives Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14), Luke Messer (R-IN-6) and David Scott (D-GA-13) have reintroduced legislation to improve the information provided about federal student loans to students and families by requiring the annual percentage rate (APR) to be disclosed. The APR helps borrowers understand the true cost of a loan so they can make good financial decisions. Current law mandates that the APR must be disclosed upfront before someone borrowing from a bank signs on the dotted line.