Chairman Quigley Statement at Hearing on Community Development Financial Institutions

2019-02-26 12:24


Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chair of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on "Leveraging Private Capital For Underserved Communities and Individuals: A Look Into Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)":

Good Morning, the hearing will come to order.

This is the subcommittee’s first hearing in the 116th Congress and my first as Chairman.

Before getting started, I would like to acknowledge Ranking Member Tom Graves, and thank him for his service to this subcommittee and for his leadership as Chairman in the previous Congress. 

We have several more returning FSGG veterans, including the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee and the previous distinguished Chairman of this subcommittee, Congressman Jose Serrano.

Chairman Serrano will also serve as Vice Chairman of FSGG this Congress and I am grateful to him for assuming that role.

Also returning is Congressman Bishop – the distinguished Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee, Congressman Cartwright of Pennsylvania, Congressman Amodei of Nevada. And Congressman Stewart of Utah.

Finally, we have four new members of the subcommittee, Representative Norma Torres, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, Rep. David Joyce and Representative Charlie Crist. 

I look forward to working with each of you on the priorities of your constituents and finding bipartisan consensus whenever it is possible.

There is much work to be done on behalf of the American people and I for one look forward to a productive Congress where we conduct oversight of the agencies under our jurisdiction and work to find common ground as we set funding priorities for the Federal government.

As a matter of housekeeping, we will follow the five minute rule for opening remarks, questions, and comments.

Members will be recognized in order of seniority based on who is seated at the beginning of the hearing, going back and forth between the parties.

Late-comers will be recognized in the order of their arrival, going back and forth between the parties.

At this time I want to welcome our four witnesses to the Subcommittee. With us today we have:

Ms. Annie Donovan, Senior Fellow at the Center for Community Investment;

Mr. Joe Neri, CEO of IFF;

Mr. Bob Jones CEO and President of United Bank and;

Ms. Grace Fricks, CEO and President of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs.

I appreciate you all taking the time to be with us this morning and I am excited to get this hearing underway to  discuss how Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, benefit the underserved and low income communities in every state as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.  I know my colleague Mr. Serrano is always happy when he hears of programs that support the territories.

I’ll keep my opening statement brief, but want to remind my colleagues that for the past two years, the Trump Administration has attempted to eliminate the CDFI Fund by slashing its funding to a mere $14 million dollars.

This is a $236 million dollar reduction which translates to fewer resources to spur economic growth and revitalization in our most underserved and neglected communities.

If Congress did not step in to restore funding to CDFI in both 2018 and 2019, CDFI grant programs would cease to exist in the future.

That is fact.

There would be no funds to create new CDFIs nor continue CDFI grant awards for

financial and technical assistance,
Native Initiatives,
Increased investment in distressed communities,
Disability, and
Healthy Food Financing Initiatives programs.

These programs provide access to capital for communities who otherwise might not be able to create small businesses, local jobs, affordable housing, community facilities, and financial education opportunities.

I have a strong suspicion that the current Administration will propose yet again to slash the CDFI Fund’s budget for the coming fiscal year.

And once again, it will be up to Congress to weigh the funding options for this bipartisan program that plays such an important role in generating economic growth and opportunity in some of our nation’s most distressed communities.

Let’s stop this game. My colleagues on the other side of the dais know the importance and value of the CDFI Fund.

Indeed, the CDFI Fund has ranked as one of the top four Member requested programs in this bill. 

In fiscal year 2019, the program received 291 requests for increased CDFI funding or report language and 19 percent of these requests were from Republicans.

I think we all agree on the value of the CDFI Fund.

In fiscal year 2018 alone, the CDFI Program awardees financed more than 17,900 business and microenterprise loans, financed nearly 33,600 affordable housing units, and served more than 343,000 individuals with financial literacy or other training. That’s impressive.

I’m hoping that we can all work together this Congress to improve lives and strengthen communities that are not progressing at the same pace with other parts of the country. 

I look forward to hearing firsthand about each of your successes and contributions to building stronger communities and growing jobs across the United States and our territories.

That said, thank you all again for taking the time to meet with us today. I look forward to hearing your testimony this morning. Let me turn now to Ranking Member Graves for his comments. 

116th Congress