In 2010 then-President Barack Obama signed a bill that ended a longtime program under which private-sector entities such as banks had provided government-guaranteed student loans to young college students in exchange for federal subsidies. By doing so, Obama essentially nationalized student loans.
“By cutting out the middleman, we’ll save the American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years,” Obama proudly announced at the time. “That’s real money.”
Though every media outlet covered the then-president’s paradigm-changing move at the time, for some reason House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters just learned about it Wednesday.
Her startling discovery occurred during a House Financial Services Committee panel featuring seven bank execuetives. While the panel was supposed to be about “Holding Megabanks Accountable” for, as an example, their behavior during the Great Recession, Waters chose to make it about student loans.
“Today, there are more than 44 million Americans that owe — there’s a student loan crisis,” she said. “$1.56 trillion in student debt. Last month, this committee received testimony that, last year, 1 million student loan borrowers defaulted, which was on top of the 1 million borrowers who defaulted the year before. What are you guys doing to help us with the student loan debt?”
“Who would like to answer first?” she aggressively added.
One by one, the bank executives — including Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Monahan, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat and JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO James Dimon — explained to the uninformed committee chair that they haven’t been involved with students loans for a decade.
Monahan: “We stopped making student loans in 2007 or so.”
Corbat: “We exited student lending in 2009.”
Dimon: “When the government took over student lending in 2010 or so, we stopped doing all student lending.”
“Thank you,” Waters replied, before moving on to another subject.
It’s unclear why the woman who chairs the committee that “oversees all components of the nation’s housing and financial services sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities,” was unaware that students loans were nationalized almost a decade ago.
It’s also unclear why congressional Democrats, who reclaimed the House during the midterm elections last year, chose someone so grossly uninformed to chair such an important committee.
Not to mention someone so divisive. While speaking on MSNBC last summer, the California congresswoman urged the network’s audience to harass members of the Trump administration until they stepped down from their posts. Around the same time she was filmed telling a crowd of constituents to make sure Trump officials and supporters know they aren’t welcome “anymore, anywhere.”
Yet despite the congresswoman’s dangerous rhetoric, congressional Democrats stuck to their plan to install her as the House Financial Services Committee chair if they won the then-upcoming elections.
“Representative Maxine Waters’ Democratic colleagues are sticking by her as the party’s top candidate to run the powerful Financial Services Committee despite the controversy over her urging supporters to publicly confront Trump administration officials on immigration,” Bloomberg reportedat the time.
Nearly a year has passed, and Waters — a woman whom some social media users have described a a “hot mess” — is now running the committee, much to the benefit of nobody, it would appear.