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
Americans across the board agree the country benefits from a transparent and accountable federal government. They also agree with the Founders that a system of checks-and-balances is one of the best bulwarks against unaccountable government.
Washington, DC — U.S. Representatives Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and Andy Barr (KY-06) have reintroduced legislation to protect against the misuse of consumers’ sensitive financial information. The federal government is already making sensitive mortgage information available online and has plans to more than double the information that is published—putting even more personal information at risk of abuse.
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today applauded House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) alternative to the failed Dodd-Frank Act, the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act.
On a night where a decidedly liberal audience was primed more for a pro wrestling match than a constituent forum, Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren still won a smattering of applause.