Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling told a conference of mortgage bankers Wednesday his 2013 bill that would have ended Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still remains the best path forward for reform of the housing finance market.
Appearing at a meeting of the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday morning in downtown Washington, the conservative chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said the legislation "still represents the best vehicle for reform."
The bill cleared the committee with Republican votes in 2013, but failed to advance in the House thanks to finance industry skepticism.
Notably, it would have dissolved the bailed-out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In their stead, it would have created a privately-run utility to facilitate the creation of mortgage-backed securities and support a secondary market for home loans.
The bill would have removed government backing for mortgage-backed utilities, though. At the time, many industry groups, including the Mortgage Bankers Association, argued eliminating the government backstop for mortgage-backed securities would make 30-year fixed-rate loans unavailable.
Hensarling on Wednesday called it a "fable" that his legislation would have ended the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
The lawmaker has been meeting with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo of Idaho and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss housing finance reform. All parties have said they aim to address the status of Fannie and Freddie later this year or early next.
"I'm confident this is the Congress where we will finally achieve that goal," Hensarling said Wednesday.
He also said that he was reviewing outside proposals for overhauling the system of housing finance, including the one published by the Mortgage Bankers Association earlier this year.Read More
WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Congressman Hensarling (TX-05) met with Monica Attaway, a recipient of the Congressional Award Gold Medal for outstanding commitment and service to her community. Attaway plans to attend Texas A&M and pursue a degree in Zoology.
“Monica is a bright young leader who completed over 400 hours of community service,” said Hensarling. “As a fellow Aggie, it is great to see the next generation so committed to academic excellence and service to their community. It was wonderful to meet Monica and her family, and I look forward to hearing about her continued success.”
Click here for more information on the Congressional Award Gold Medal.
WASHINGTON – “Today Texans and people across America celebrate Juneteenth. On this day in 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended. Two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Texas slaves heard for the first time that they were free.
“There is no other land on earth like America, but we’ve had our share of failings. And we’ve had no greater failing than allowing slavery to exist in the land of the free.
“Honoring important milestones in our nation’s quest for equality and justice, like Juneteenth, are wonderful reminders for us to live our lives toward the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – that all of our children may live in a society where they are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character – and to work to make a more perfect Union by keeping America free.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement today regarding House passage of two Veteran related bills.
“The men and women who have made – and are still making – tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom deserve access to high quality care and services. In 2014, troubling reports of widespread neglect and mistreatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unveiled that our nation’s veterans were not receiving access to quality care they deserve. Quality care means employees who care, and if employees are not serving our veterans, they need to go. For too long, it has been nearly impossible to fire employees who are not serving our veterans. While the House passed a bill in 2014 to make it easier to fire some VA employees, it is important that all VA employees be held accountable to the standard required for our veterans. The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (S. 1094), which passed with bipartisan support, grants the secretary of the VA additional authority to expeditiously remove employees due to poor performance or misconduct, recoup bonuses and awards, and improve whistleblower protections. It is my hope that this legislation will help the department finally get rid of the bad actors that tarnish the great work being done by the dedicated men and women who work at the VA.
“To help meet the principle that our veterans should have the ability to access the best care possible, the House also passed the VETERAN Act (H.R. 2372), which codifies the Internal Revenue Service’s current practice of providing eligible veterans the choice to get financial support for a private plan in lieu of enrolling in health care provided by the VA.
“While the VETERAN Act heads to the Senate, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration for the brave men and women who have sacrificed to make our country and the world a better, safer place to live.”
With the financial system imploding in 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke implored Congress to authorize $700 billion to bail out the banks or risk a total meltdown.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling would have none of it.
His actions then represented a key milepost on the Texas Republican’s path to becoming a powerful House committee chairman and a pivotal player in the GOP effort to reduce financial regulation in the Trump era.
Hensarling was among the rebellious House conservatives who helped torpedo the first attempt to create the Troubled Asset Relief Program on Sept. 29, 2008, triggering a record stock market plunge.
As Wall Street nervously awaited a second vote four days later, he acknowledged that many Americans could lose their jobs and homes if Congress didn’t act.
But the man who diverted beer money in college to subscribe to a leading libertarian journal said he had an even greater fear: The bailouts would put the nation on “the slippery slope to socialism.”
“The thought of my children growing up in an America with less freedom, less opportunity, and a lower standard of living is a long-term pain I cannot and will not bear,” Hensarling declared on the House floor.
He bucked his party’s leaders and President George W. Bush — a fellow Texas conservative — and opposed the TARP legislation again.
This time, though, it was approved. The program has been credited with helping halt the crisis while cementing the belief that some institutions are too big to fail.
“He fought against it when others caved,” said J.W. Verret, an assistant professor at George Mason University and expert on financial regulation.
Those votes highlighted the fervent free-market ideology that has made Hensarling, now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, the proud leader of the drive by congressional Republicans to roll back tougher federal oversight of the financial system. Those rules were put in place to prevent another crisis.
The House took a major step in that effort Thursday when it passed legislation crafted by Hensarling — the Financial Choice Act — that would dismantle many of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms enacted in 2010. But the Senate is expected to draft a more moderate bill to try to draw Democrats needed to avoid a filibuster.
“Under Dodd-Frank, consumers are paying more and getting less. Their costs have gone up, and they have fewer choices, more hassles and less access to credit,” Hensarling declared in introducing his legislation in April, decrying new regulations on credit cards, mortgages and other financial products.
“True consumer protection comes from competitive, transparent and innovative markets that are vigorously policed for fraud and deception,” he said.
Hensarling — a polite and low-decibel conservative with a deadpan sense of humor and an occasionally sharp tongue — has become a tea party favorite by relentlessly striving to cut federal spending and shrink the federal government.
He preferred to let financial institutions fail in 2008 rather than risk taxpayer money to rescue them.
“How can we have capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down?” he asked his colleagues in urging them to reject TARP. The program ultimately produced a modest profit for taxpayers.
He angered many businesses, including Boeing Corp. and General Electric Co., in 2015 by forcing a six-month shutdown of the Export-Import Bank, which provides loans and other financing to foreign buyers of U.S. products. Hensarling disparaged the taxpayer-backed aid as an example of crony capitalism.
And Hensarling has been the chief antagonist of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by Dodd-Frank to oversee credit cards, mortgages and other financial products. He views the agency as the epitome of government intrusion into the marketplace and has crusaded to reduce its authority and oust its powerful Democratic director.
That’s in keeping with his overall philosophy.
“I have a great concern about the rise of an unaccountable administrative state,” Hensarling said in an interview. “The fate of your paycheck, the fate of your small business should not rest on what side of the bed a Washington bureaucrat wakes up on.”
Hensarling’s supporters praise his ideological consistency and dedication to free markets.
“Jeb has strong values. It’s the reason he got into government to begin with,” said former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), who has been a mentor since Hensarling’s college days. “He could leave government and make a pot full of money. He’s not going to do anything he doesn’t believe in.”
Critics, however, say Hensarling is out-of-touch with the complex world of 21st century finance, where consumers need protection from predatory lenders and the financial system is vulnerable to gaming by sophisticated players.
“If you’re going to have free markets, they’ve got to be fair,” said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “If you take apart the CFPB and leave it unable to do its job, then you’re not going to have fair, free markets. You’re going to have a system that is weighted completely on one side.”
Hensarling sticks to his approach — even if that means risking a financial catastrophe, as in 2008.
“You don’t ever really see him, when there’s a financial interest or there’s a big lobbying effort, where he abandons his principles,” said Edward Mills, a financial policy research analyst with FBR Capital Markets & Co.
“There’s a lot of frustration around town from those trade associations and different financial services lobbyists that he has been so beholden to his philosophy,” said Mills, who was a staffer for the Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2009.
The biggest contributors to Hensarling are employees and political action committees of banks, securities and investment firms and other financial companies, which have given him about $6.9 million since he first ran for Congress in 2002.
But in some financial industry sectors, Hensarling isn’t even the top recipient of campaign contributions on his own committee.
He certainly doesn’t have to worry about reelection in his district, which stretches from the Dallas suburbs into rural east Texas.
Hensarling’s smallest margin of victory was 18 percentage points in his first race in 2002. In his last two campaigns, the Democrats didn’t even put up a challenger. Last fall, he won reelection with 81% of the vote.
Although Democrats have painted him as being in the pocket of Wall Street, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said that’s unfair.
“He’s just a very rigid ideologue. I don’t think he does it for the money,” said Frank, the co-author of the Dodd-Frank legislation who sparred with Hensarling for years on the Financial Services Committee.
Hensarling challenges anyone accusing him of doing the bidding of contributors to look at his record, including his opposition to the Export-Import Bank and Wall Street’s failure to embrace the Financial Choice Act.
“I’ve been dedicated to the proposition that there’s been no greater wealth-creation system in the history of mankind than the American free enterprise system,” he said in the interview.
Small banks are strong supporters of the bill because it scales back many of the Dodd-Frank rules that are much more expensive for them to comply with than the big banks that have large compliance operations.
But the biggest banks aren’t thrilled with it.
A leading feature is the ability for any bank to avoid strict federal regulatory oversight if it holds capital of at least 10% of assets. The current requirement is 3% for most banks and 6% for institutions considered systemically important.
An analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the eight largest banks — including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. — would be unlikely to choose the option because they would have to raise large amounts of capital given their size.
Large banks would love to get a broad pass from Dodd-Frank’s regulations, which are tougher on them because they pose a greater risk to the financial system than smaller banks.
The legislation also would eliminate the ability of regulators to shut down large financial firms if they were on the verge of failing if they threaten the stability of the financial system, a safety net that the big banks would like to keep in place.
Hensarling and other Dodd-Frank critics have called that ability— known as “orderly liquidation authority” — a bailout, even though any taxpayer money used is supposed to be recouped from the sale of the company’s assets or an assessment on the financial industry.
He would replace the authority by enhancing bankruptcy laws that effectively would leave struggling banks to collapse, as he advocated in 2008 — removing any chance taxpayers would be on the hook for another bailout.
“In many respects, you can argue Dodd-Frank isn’t even law. It’s a license for unaccountable, un-elected officials to make law,” Hensarling said in the interview. “There are many federal workers who I know to be good people, but none of them are accountable to the citizens of the Fifth District of Texas. My job contract comes up for renewal every two years.”
Mills said the option for banks to raise capital to get a broad pass from oversight was a “total red herring.” It allows Hensarling to tout that Wall Street doesn’t like his bill even though there are other regulatory changes that would benefit them even if they reject the option.
Those include sharply reducing the authority of the CFPB and repealing the so-called Volcker Rule, which prohibits federally insured banks from trading for their own profit and limits their ownership of risky investments.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, said Hensarling’s goal is to make it easier for Wall Street and the banking industry to have their way.
“He believes that the banks should be able to operate in the fashion that they operate and somehow the kind of trickle-down theories will work for the average Americans and we should not interfere with that at all,” she said.
Hensarling grew up on his family’s poultry farm near College Station, Texas. He attended nearby Texas A&M University, where he was strongly influenced by Gramm, then an economics professor who taught a class on money and banking that Hensarling took.
“He stood out in the class. I took a special interest in him,” said Gramm, a free-market advocate whom critics blame for loosening bank and trading regulations that they say helped set up the financial disaster.
The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, signed by President Clinton, repealed what was left of Depression-era restrictions that effectively separated commercial banking from riskier investment banking.
Hensarling said Gramm “has loomed large in my life” and introduced him to the works of free-market economists such as Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.
Hensarling felt so strongly about free markets that he said he spent $25 to subscribe to the academic journal produced by the libertarian Cato Institute.
“That was honest-to-God college beer money that I gave up to be associated with Cato, so you know about my commitment to the cause of liberty,” he said during a forum at the think tank last year.
Hensarling worked on Gramm’s Senate staff, mostly in Texas, from 1985 to 1989. Then Hensarling served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to get GOP candidates elected, while Gramm was its chairman.
He returned to the private sector in the early 1990s until winning his congressional seat in 2002.
Hensarling’s colleagues voted him into the House leadership for the 2011-12 session as head of the entire Republican caucus. But he gave up that position in 2013 to take the gavel on the House Financial Services Committee, which has allowed him to reshape regulatory policy.
The tougher rules and expanded regulatory powers in Dodd-Frank made it the perfect target for Hensarling.
He opposed the bill when it passed Congress in 2010 and last year produced his first version of the Financial Choice Act to dramatically scale it back. The legislation was approved by his committee. But major obstacles in the Senate and a surefire veto from then-President Obama helped keep the bill from even getting a vote by the full House.
Hensarling has made revisions to the bill and was open to suggestions from small bankers, said Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. He estimated he’s had 15-20 meetings with Hensarling since he became chairman.
“At first I was a little apprehensive because he sort of has a reputation for being dogmatic,” Fine said. “But I have to say, genuinely, he’s always been very open with me, open to suggestions, and we’ve had good dialogues.”
Waters had a different experience. She said Hensarling wasn’t open to changes from Democrats on the committee.
The committee approved the legislation last month on a party line 34-26 vote. It passed the House on Thursday with a similar partisan breakdown — all but one Republican voted for it, while no Democrats did.
WASHINGTON – Chairman Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement after the House passed his Financial CHOICE Act.
“Every promise of Dodd-Frank has been broken,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), as he read letters from Americans about how they were declined home, automobile and small business loans due to Dodd-Frank’s burdensome regulations. “Fortunately there is a better, smarter way. It’s called the Financial CHOICE Act. It stands for economic growth for all, but bank bailouts for none. We will end bank bailouts once and for all. We will replace bailouts with bankruptcy. We will replace economic stagnation with a growing, healthy economy,” he said.
“We will make sure there is needed regulatory relief for our small banks and credit unions, because it’s our small banks and credit unions that lend to our small businesses that are the jobs engine of our economy and make sure the American dream is not a pipe dream,” said Chairman Hensarling.
CHOICE, which stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs, has received strong support from community banks and credit unions. Large financial institutions did not offer their support for the Financial CHOICE Act. Instead, Wall Street CEOs have publicly said they do not support repealing Dodd-Frank.
The Congressional Budget Office reports the Financial CHOICE Act would reduce the deficit by $33.6 billion over 10 years and that the bill’s regulatory relief would benefit community banks and credit unions. The nation’s largest banks would be unlikely to raise enough capital to meet the bill’s requirement for substantial regulatory relief, the CBO reported.
FINANCIAL CHOICE ACT AT A GLANCE:
BANKRUPTCY, NOT BAILOUTS
No more bailouts: that’s at the core of the Financial CHOICE Act. With changes to the bankruptcy code, large financial firms can fail without disrupting the entire economy or forcing hardworking taxpayers to pay for more bailouts.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WALL STREET AND WASHINGTON
The Financial CHOICE Act includes the toughest penalties in history for those who commit financial fraud and insider trading. Holding Wall Street accountable with the toughest penalties in history will deter corporate wrongdoing and better protect consumers. At the same time the Financial CHOICE Act holds Wall Street accountable, it also holds Washington accountable. Tougher accountability for Wall Street and Washington will protect the integrity of our markets so they benefit ordinary Americans who are working, saving and investing.
STRONGLY CAPITALIZED BANKS
Dodd-Frank’s one-size-fits-all regulations treat all financial institutions the same, regardless of their size. That makes no sense and hurts smaller, hometown banks and credit unions that did nothing to cause the last financial crisis.
The Financial CHOICE Act is based on two important principles: First, all banks need to be well-capitalized and, second, community banks and credit unions deserve relief from the crushing burden of over-regulation. Under the Financial CHOICE Act, banks and credit unions will qualify for regulatory relief if they elect to maintain enough capital to ensure that if they get in trouble, taxpayers won’t be forced to bail them out. Ninety-eight percent of the financial institutions that met the Financial CHOICE Act’s requirements for being well-capitalized did not fail during the financial crisis. Of the miniscule percentage that did fail, none posed a systemic risk.
The Financial CHOICE Act grows our economy from Main Street up. Dodd-Frank tries to control the economy from Washington down. The Financial CHOICE Act will help get credit and capital into the hands of working men and women to fuel their economic growth.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, released the following statement regarding President Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
“I believe President Trump made the right decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. President Obama entered into this flawed agreement on his own and never sought the Senate’s advice and consent, as the Founders intended. The Paris climate agreement ultimately does not solve the environmental challenges it was supposed to address, and by many measures, causes more harm than good by holding our economy back and driving up the cost of energy. Market forces along with the shale revolution have already reduced American greenhouse gas emissions significantly.
“In the last eight years we have seen a war on jobs in this country. It’s time to free our economy from regulatory overreach and get it working for working Americans. Encouraging the production of American energy will greatly help on that front and allow our country to be less reliant on foreign sources of energy.
“We can reduce our emissions and continue to produce American energy without the Paris climate agreement. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress and the Trump Administration to jump start our economy, create jobs, and revive the American dream.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) released the following statement in observance of Memorial Day.
“Memorial Day reminds us that freedom is not free – it comes at an incredible cost. Memorial Day has become a time-honored tradition in America, dating back to the days of the Civil War, when groups of women decorated the graves of fallen soldiers. General John Logan officially proclaimed the first Memorial Day on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This custom has endured for over a century and is still practiced today by the Commander in Chief placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“From Bunker Hill to Baghdad, American troops have died to liberate millions from the forces of tyranny. They’ve stared evil in the eyes and stood for all that is good in the world. They’ve overcome obstacles and defied impossible odds. Even in death, their service brought light to places of darkness and despotism. Because of their heroism, their sacrifices have reverberated throughout the ages.
“As our families and friends gather together this Memorial Day to enjoy barbeques and baseball games, let us not forget the true and solemn purpose for this national day of remembrance.
“In the words of President Ronald Reagan, ‘We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we that we may always be free.’"
WASHINGTON—Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement regarding the release of President Trump’s 2018 budget.
“The higher taxes, spending and borrowing that were the pillars of Obamanomics brought us the weakest economic recovery in our lifetimes, stagnant paychecks and more new debt than nearly all other presidents combined. Left unchecked, our nation is driving at breakneck speed toward a spending-driven debt crisis that will leave us a nation of downsized dreams and fewer opportunities. We cannot continue to grow Washington’s budget at the expense of the family budget. For the first time in almost a decade, a President has proposed a budget that puts us on a path to fiscal sanity. This budget is a sober document, and I’m pleased President Trump’s proposal takes a long overdue look at redefining the proper role of the federal government while simultaneously investing in our military at a time of increasing threats to our safety domestically and abroad. I am also pleased his budget proposal seeks to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act’s taxpayer-funded bailout scheme and bring spending accountability to the unconstitutional CFPB. Ending Wall Street bailouts and making Washington regulators accountable are key parts of the Financial CHOICE Act. If we want strong economic growth and more freedom, we must empower Americans, not Washington bureaucrats. I wish the White House had gone further in reforms to our entitlement system which is going bankrupt and represents the true driver of our nation’s spending driven debt crisis. I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to end bank bailouts, grow our economy and restore fiscal accountability to Washington.”
WASHINGTON—Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement after House passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628):
“I am supporting this bill because it advances the cause of freedom. I wish we could get a total Obamacare repeal and replace bill on the President’s desk all at once. Because of arcane Senate rules and the 60 vote threshold - which I’ve repeatedly encouraged my Senate colleagues to change - we have to repeal and replace Obamacare in pieces. But, with today’s vote, we’ve taken a huge step forward in that important process.
“The American Health Care Act contains significant conservative victories. First and foremost, this bill contains the biggest entitlement reform in more than 50 years through reforms to Medicaid, which is one of the major, long-term drivers of our national debt. The AHCA strengthens this broken program by giving states the freedom and flexibility to bypass the national Obamacare mandates to take care of their poor and vulnerable citizens in an innovative manner. It gets rid of the employer mandate and the individual mandate—the foundation of government coercion on which Obamacare was built. No longer are employers or individual Americans going to be forced to purchase health insurance coverage they do not want or need. This bill also denies federal funding to Planned Parenthood. And, on top of providing almost $1 trillion in tax relief by repealing taxes imposed by Obamacare, the American Health Care Act doubles the amount of money families can contribute, pre-tax, to Health Savings Accounts to help pay for medical expenses. Finally, despite what is being falsely reported, the bill continues to guarantee access to health insurance for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
“While there are many conservative victories in this bill, much remains to be done. We need to enact long-sought conservative reforms which will further drive down health care costs for Americans such as meaningful medical liability reform and allowing Americans to shop for health insurance across state lines. I will continue to fight for these reforms as we continue the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. But, Americans are already paying the price of Obamacare’s collapse and the bill we passed today will rescue them from top-down Washington mandates that have made purchasing health care coverage unaffordable, and having access to a doctor unattainable for so many.
“Annual family premiums in the employer-sponsored market increased by roughly $4,300, on average, despite President Obama’s promise that premiums would decrease by $2,500. Deductibles for these plans are up an average of 60 percent since 2010. In the health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare, things are even worse for American consumers. Last October, the Obama Administration announced premium increases nearly four times larger than previously projected.
“Rarely does a day or week go by that I don’t hear from another Texas family about the hardship and heartaches caused by Obamacare. I recently heard from Frances who lives in Garland. She told me that in September 2014 she was diagnosed with tonsil cancer, and at the time, had health insurance through her husband’s employer. She said it was a good policy that cost $600 per month and had an out-of-pocket expenses limit of $3500. This plan allowed her to see the oncologist of her choice. In September 2015, she lost her coverage through her husband’s employer and was forced into Obamacare. As a result, the family’s costs went up and they have struggled to find any oncologist who will accept their insurance.
“Unfortunately, Frances’s story isn’t unique. In fact, in five states, individuals and families only have one choice for health insurance. Many have lost access to the doctors they know and trust. This lack of competition and the sheer weight of Washington top-down regulations have left Americans high and dry.
“The President has asked us to help people like Frances by passing the American Health Care Act, and the House has done just that. Now, it’s time for my Senate colleagues to do the same and make good on our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and help families across this country have access to the affordable, quality health care of their choice.”
2228 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
First elected to Congress in 2002, Jeb Hensarling is a strong conservative and an outspoken advocate for limited government and unlimited opportunity.
As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb is a leader in promoting consumer choice, competitive markets, and smart regulation in our financial markets. He was the only member of Congress to have introduced comprehensive reform legislation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the credit crisis, lauded in the media as “a concrete plan for fixing Fannie and Freddie.” Jeb was recognized by The New York Times for “leading the GOP Vanguard against the Bailout,” and was the only member of Congress to have introduced a legislative alternative to TARP during the heart of the credit crisis, which would have minimized taxpayer exposure and the politicization of the market.
A lifelong conservative dedicated to advancing the principals of faith, family, free enterprise, and freedom, Jeb was chosen by his colleagues during the 112th Congress to chair the House Republican Conference—the fourth ranking leadership position in the House—and in the 110th Congress, he was elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee—the largest conservative caucus in the House. The Associated Press recently recognized Jeb’s consistency on conservative issues saying, “he made cutting federal spending, ending earmarks and reducing the size of government his priorities before the tea party came into existence.”
In recognition of his relentless fight to cut wasteful Washington spending and remove barriers to job growth, Jeb was appointed to serve on the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and was most recently appointed co-chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Prior to the 112th Congress, Jeb served as the number two Republican on the House Budget Committee—under now Chairman Paul Ryan—and has consistently fought to reduce our debt and stop out-of-control Washington spending. He is a co-author of the “Spending, Deficit, and Debt Control Act,” a landmark budget reform bill that was heralded as the “gold standard” of budget enforcement legislation by a coalition of conservative groups, including the Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens United Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the National Taxpayer Union. Jeb also authored the “Spending Limit Amendment”—a Constitutional amendment that would limit federal spending to no more than 20% of the economy—the historic average since WWII. For his work to rein in wasteful Washington spending and put our country back on a fiscally sustainable path, the National Review Online dubbed him “Rep. Budget Reform,” and The Dallas Morning News called him a “truth teller” who “has become one of the most important GOP members of Congress.”
Born in Stephenville, Texas, Jeb grew up working on his father’s farm near College Station. He earned a degree in economics from Texas A&M University in 1979 and a law degree from the University of Texas in 1982. Before coming to Congress, Jeb spent ten years in the private sector, serving as an officer for a successful investment firm, a data management company, and an electric retail company.
Jeb and his wife, Melissa, are members of St. Michael and All Angels Church, and reside in Dallas with their two children, Claire and Travis.
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The men and women who have served our great country deserve far better care than what they have received in the past. Today, we are working together
ICYMI: Los Angeles Times highlighted my commitment to empowering Main Street rather than Wall Street and Washington. The thought of my children
Great to meet with Monica and her family yesterday afternoon. Monica is a Palestine, Texas student and recipient of the Congressional Award Gold
Today, Texans and people across America celebrate Juneteenth. On this day in 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed
My wife, Melissa, and I are keeping the loved ones of our fallen #USSFitzgerald sailors in our thoughts & prayers.