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Government, Politics & Issues

Clay named top Democrat on expanded financial services panel

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 15, 2013 - WASHINGTON – In the new Congress, U.S Rep. William Lacy Clay has been named the top Democrat on a revamped financial services panel with jurisdiction that includes the Federal Reserve Bank, the Export-Import Bank and the World Bank.

Clay, D-St. Louis, served in the previous Congress as the ranking Democrat on a less expansive subcommittee with oversight over the Fed and domestic monetary policy. But the new panel – the Subcommittee on Domestic & International Monetary Policy and Technology – adds oversight of major international monetary organizations.

That is likely to be of considerable interest among some big firms with operations in St. Louis, such as Boeing Co., which has been the largest beneficiary of the Export-Import Bank’s guaranteed loans in recent years.

In a statement Tuesday, Clay said the revamped subcommittee “will greatly impact the economic health of our nation and the world. Our focus will be growing jobs, expanding international trade, keeping interest rates low and restoring economic security for working families.”

With Clay, U.S Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elzabeth, and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, as members, the St. Louis region will have considerable clout on the House Financial Services Committee. Another Missourian, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City is also on the panel.

In addition to those four lawmakers, a native St. Louisan, U.S Rep. Maxine Waters of California, is the full committee’s ranking Democrat. The chairman is conservative U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex.

Clay’s main subcommittee will have major oversight responsibilities over the Federal Reserve, the Import-Export Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Clay also serves on the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.

The St. Louis Democrat said one of his priorities on the committee is to make sure “that the new Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, within the Consumer Financial Services Bureau, strongly advocates for expanded opportunities for women and minorities in the financial services industry.”

Wagner expects to receive her subcommittee assignments later this week, a spokesman said. As Republicans, Wagner and Luetkemeyer tend to have different priorities than Clay on many of the committee's issues.

For example, Wagner said last month that her goals included taking a hard look at the Dodd-Frank law, other Wall Street reforms and the Consumer Protection Act “before they do greater damage to our already fragile economy.”

The St. Louis region is home to several major investment firms, 145 regional and local banks, and several venture capital firms. Wagner said more than 84,000 people in the region work at such firms, which have a total payroll of about $4.6 billion.

“This powerful network of investment firms, the growing strength of venture capital firms and the 145 different local, regional and national banks make the St. Louis area key in the financial services industry,” Wagner said.

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