Speeches and Floor Statements

Scott Remarks at House Financial Services Hearing with Federal Reserve Chair

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Washington, July 12, 2017 | comments

Today Congressman David Scott (GA-13) provided the following remarks during the House Financial Services Committee’s Humphrey-Hawkins hearing on monetary policy and the state of the economy with the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Janet Yellen:

Click here to watch video of Congressman Scott’s exchange with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Rep. Scott: Chair Yellen, welcome, good to have you again.

Chair Yellen, I first of all want to thank you and the Federal Reserve. Under the leadership of our Ranking Member Ms. Waters, Ranking Judiciary Member John Conyers, myself, and others, we were hopeful that for the first time in American history, that the Federal Reserve would appoint and hire the very first African-American ever to hold the position as a regional president of the Fed—and you all did that.

We want to say thank you so much and we deeply appreciate that. That means a lot, not just to the African-American community, but to all Americans. That’s what this great country is about.

Now let me go to one other thing; Chair Yellen. You and I have had an ongoing of course about the high rate of unemployment for African-Americans and I always remember fondly when you referred to that as a blunt instrument. As I said, that’s what M said to James Bond to describe him. In other words, he couldn’t go through it.

So you said that Congress had to come up with some legislation—we did that. House Resolution 51 and 52 of which we sent a copy to you, you know, which would tie African-Americans staggering unemployment rate of African-American young men in the inner city to apprenticeships, training programs, attached to rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure. That has been introduced and by law we have to fund the 1890s African-American colleges. We put $95 million dollars in the appropriations—hopefully—that we would be able to spread over for five years at $5 million dollars for each of these universities. 

I read your past reports that you’ve given and you have talked about housing. And we’d like to move to that next. And in your past three reports, you made a point to dedicate full sections of your reports to specific topics related to the disparity that the Federal Reserve is seeing in the data for the African-American community. So I want to call your attention specifically to those sections from the three most recent reports to Congress. The titles of these—and you referred to them as ‘boxes’—that’s what the Fed calls them, and one box was “Has the gains of the economic expansion been widely shared?”; box number two, “Home ownership by race and ethnicity”;  and box number three, “Does education determine who climbs the economic ladder?”  And in that discussion of those problems, you highlighted socioeconomic differences between whites and blacks, poor credit scores due to income disparities and continued discrimination. That lays it bare.

So, Chair Yellen, let me ask you, of all of these factors in your boxes, which of these factors is most pressing? And what recommendations on substantive solutions can we here in Congress work on to help address the home ownership problem hurting African-Americans, much as you’ve suggested that you develop this legislation moving forward on the unemployment of African-Americans?

Ms. Yellen: Well, I don’t want to try to give you detailed suggestions for what legislation you can put forward. Our job is to try to do the best we can to provide information and background that will be helpful to you as you decide what’s appropriate. I do believe this is squarely in the domain of Congress and the President and we’re trying to find useful solutions.

Rep. Scott: Absolutely and we will pursue that, I commend you for bringing that up. I would love for you to stay on in your position as Chairlady of the Fed.

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