Tag: patrick mchenry
Patrick McHenry

Frustrated House Republicans Are 'Quitting In Droves'

On Friday, January 5, the news broke that yet another Republican is leaving the U.S. House of Representatives: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). The Denver Post's Seth Klamann tweeted that Lamborn is "not running for reelection," and that "all three Republican-held Colorado congressional seats will all be up for grabs in November."

Klamann posted, "Lamborn represents CD5, which is Colorado Springs. It's one of the few remaining conservative bastions in the state, with a number of Republican state and local electeds. It'll almost certainly be a busy primary, folks."

But Colorado is hardly the only state where U.S. House Republicans are deciding against running for reelection in 2024. In an article published the same day as the news on Lamborn, The Atlantic's Russell Berman stresses that "frustrated" House Republicans have been "quitting in droves."

"After the House spent much of October fighting over whom to elect as speaker," Berman reports, "November saw more retirement announcements than any single month in more than a decade. Some members aren't even waiting for their term to end."

After being ousted as speaker, former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) decided to leave without finishing his term. His last day in Congress was December 31.

Berman observes, "Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio, a Republican, and Brian Higgins of New York, a Democrat, are each leaving for new jobs in the next several weeks…. A roughly equal number of members from each party plan to forgo reelection this year. But the most powerful departing lawmakers are Republicans: The chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, is leaving after a quarter century in Congress, and the head of the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, will end his 20-year House career next year."

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) has been serving in the House since January 2015 but announced, in November, that he won't be seeking a sixth term. And Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has moved to Buck's ultra-conservative district, where she is seeking the GOP nomination.

House Republicans who are "leaving after just a few years in Congress," Berman notes, include Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Indiana) and Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona).

All these departures, according to Berman, "reflect the rising frustrations within a Republican Party that has floundered in the year since it assumed power in the House — a year in which it has spent more time fighting than governing."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

New House Financial Services Chair Took $8 Million From Banks

New House Financial Services Chair Took $8 Million From Banks

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina has been selected to chair the House Financial Services Committee in the newly sworn-in 118th Congress. Rather than focus on oversight of Wall Street banks and other financial institutions, the 10th-term lawmaker plans to use the position to investigate the federal agencies that regulate them.

The committee's jurisdiction includes banks and banking; insurance; international finance; money and credit; housing; urban development; and securities and exchanges.

The North Carolina Republican's campaign website boasts that he "is fighting regulatory constraints that have killed competition, closed community banks, and hurt families in western North Carolina."

In a November interview with Roll Call, McHenry said his first goal should he become chair of the panel would be "appropriate" and "vigorous oversight" of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the two agencies tasked with regulating markets.

McHenry has taken more than $8,000,000 in campaign contributions from the financial sector over the course of his career in Congress.

McHenry was one of 221 Republican representatives who voted on Monday to eliminate 71 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service that was appropriated in 2022 to provide additional agents, improved “investigative technology,” and additional legal support to crack down on wealthy tax cheats.

A McHenry spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The commercial industries the Financial Services Committee oversees have provided millions of dollars in campaign donations to McHenry, according to OpenSecrets. They make up five of his top six career industry contributors: securities and investments (at least $2,626,941), insurance ($1,956,679), commercial banks ($1,621,198), real estate ($1,268,490), and finance and credit card companies ($780,399).

In 2007, McHenry voted against the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, a bipartisan bill that would have improved consumer protection for borrowers, just before the underregulated mortgage system collapsed and fueled the Great Recession.

In 2010, he voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which aimed to crack down on the sort of reckless financial sector behavior that had caused the 2008 economic meltdown.

A year after it passed, he told CNBC, "Dodd-Frank has acted as a wet blanket on our economy and could pose a significant threat to American competitiveness."

Since then he has advocated for rolling back the consumer protections in the law.

He voted for the 2018 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection law, which aimed to reduce regulation of lenders. Consumer groups blasted the legislation in a letter to representatives for its "destructive policies that roll back or eliminate essential protections put in place by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection (Dodd-Frank) Act after unchecked reckless lending nearly destroyed the US economy."

The 26 organizations said, "Contrary to its stated purpose, the bill would re-expose consumers, investors, and the public to a host of risky and abusive financial practices, including many of the practices that contributed to the last recession and foreclosure crisis."

A year later, McHenry helped organize an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent agency created under Dodd-Frank to make sure banks, lenders, and financial institutions treat customers fairly. The Supreme Court rejected the brief's argument in its 2020 Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ruling, allowing the bureau to continue operating.

In 2020, McHenry said in a press statement:

It's time to permanently repeal Dodd-Frank’s costly and unnecessary mandatory disclosures, which hurt American businesses. The history of the resource extraction provisions proves the problem with trying to do social policy through public company disclosure requirements. While this rulemaking fulfills a statutory mandate and is an improvement over the two previous iterations, more must be done to ease this unnecessary burden.

He also authored a 2017 bill to protect "rent-a-bank" loans, offered by high-rate lending companies together with small banks to circumvent state caps on interest rates.

In March 2022, McHenry opposed an effort by the Securities and Exchange Commission to require the businesses it regulates to disclose climate-related risks and greenhouse gas emissions as part of their periodic reports.

"The Biden Administration is pushing its climate agenda through financial regulators because they don't have the votes to pass it in Congress," he argued in a press statement. "The SEC's proposal to require disclosure of information related to climate change that is not material for most companies is tone-deaf and misguided."

Accountable.US, a nonprofit that investigates the influence of corporations and special interests in politics, criticized McHenry in December as being "under the influence" of the industries he will oversee as chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

"Patrick McHenry made a career out of obstructing federal crackdowns of predatory lenders and financial scammers that sap billions of dollars from the pockets of average Americans every year," Liz Zelnick, director of the group's economic security and corporate power program, told the American Independent Foundation in an email. "McHenry never met a consumer protection effort he liked and has been rewarded accordingly with millions of dollars from greedy industries he now oversees."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

GOP Majority Leader Told Colleagues In 2016: “Putin Pays” Trump

GOP Majority Leader Told Colleagues In 2016: “Putin Pays” Trump

America got a glimpse today of the cynicism that infects Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership in Congress — even as the Speaker expressed his continuing support for Donald Trump, whose campaign is now officially under investigation by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller.

In remarks about the deepening Russia scandal that threatens to engulf Trump’s presidency, Ryan cautioned against a “rush to judgment,” urged a search for “facts,” but added: “It is obvious that there are some people out there who want to harm the president.” And when a reporter asked whether he maintains “confidence” in Trump, Ryan replied “I do.”

Only Ryan can explain why he would still trust Trump after learning that the president fired FBI director James Comey to kill the Russia investigation, after asking Comey last February to bury the Michael Flynn case. But it is now clear that the House leadership realized Trump was untrustworthy and unfit no later than last summer — and concealed those suspicions for purely partisan reasons.

Ryan says no rush to judgment on Comey firing

According to Washington Post national security reporter Adam Entous, Ryan and his deputy, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), engaged in a frank discussion of Trump’s suspected ties to the Kremlin last June, immediately following news of the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee.

On June 15, 2016, both Ryan and McCarthy held separate meetings at the Capitol with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who described Russia’s aggressive interference in European politics and how Moscow was “financing our populists, financing people in our governments to undo our governments.”

. Later that day, Ryan and McCarthy met with other members of their leadership group — including Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Steve Scalise, and Patrick McHenry — and talked about the Ukrainian official’s warning. Soon the discussion turned to the news of the DNC hack.

“I’ll guarantee you that’s what it is,” blurted McCarthy with a laugh. “The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [opposition] research that they had on Trump.” When Ryan wondered who had received that oppo research from the Russians, McCarthy said, “There’s . . . there’s two people I think Putin pays: [California Republican Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.” When his colleagues laughed, he added, “Swear to God.”

At that point Ryan admonished them all, “This is an off the record…No leaks, all right? This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

“That’s how you know that we’re tight,” chirped Scalise.

“What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan reiterated, sounding like a mob capo (and unaware, like so many actual Mafia bosses, that one of his soldiers was recording his comments and would eventually rat).

So House leaders suspected Trump of being compromised in the worst possible way for a future president — and supported him anyway. And they wanted to be sure that voters had no clue to their suspicions.

When Entous told spokespersons for Ryan and McCarthy that the paper was preparing a story about that meeting and read the quotes, they denied that the House leaders had ever said those words. Then when Entous told them that he had a recording of the meeting that the Post had verified, the spokespersons came back with a new explanation: McCarthy had been making “a joke.”

It’s all just too hilarious —  except that these are the clowns who control Congress at a time of grave peril for democracy, in our capital and in the world.

(The full story by Entous provides valuable context, which includes a sidebar transcript, is well worth reading.)

IMAGE: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) leaves after a meeting with Rep. Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 21, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.