A House hearing to discuss the short-term lending and borrowing that greases day-to-day operations at many companies was overshadowed Thursday by a goodbye to one of the industry’s biggest champions.
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), who lost a re-election bid to Democratic challenger Josh Gottheimer last month, presided over his last hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. The panel is the main conduit between Wall Street and Congress.
It was fitting, Garrett said, that his final subcommittee hearing focused on the impact of regulation — that was “one of the reasons I came to Washington in the first place.”
Garrett, a staunch Dodd-Frank opponent who served on the House Financial Services Committee in the thick of the debate over the 2010 law, says his 14-year congressional career has laid the groundwork for significant regulatory overhauls under a Republican president. Garrett championed small business exemptions to many of the regulations created in the Dodd-Frank financial law, and he is a proponent of President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to roll back onerous rules that weigh on the economy.
The capital markets subcommittee will play a key role in how Congress works with the Securities and Exchange Commission after Chair Mary Jo White leaves the agency next month.
“We’ve set ourselves up to do the great things that we haven’t been able to do over the last eight years,” Garrett told reporters after the hearing. “The credit really goes to Jeb that we have set ourselves up to do a number of important and profoundly significant things,” he added, referring to Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
Garrett said he isn’t certain about his future plans. “It’d be an honor to work with the new administration,” he told reporters. “Other than that, it’s too early to see what’s happening.”
Fellow committee Republicans offered parting praise at the beginning of the hearing.
“With their departure, this will be a lesser committee, and Congress will be a lesser institution,” Hensarling said, referring to Garrett and retiring Rep. Randy Neugebauer, another Texas Republican. “Anything that we achieve in this broader committee, please know that it is based upon your work.”
Democrats also gave Garrett a farewell tribute.
“He’s been a friend, an outstanding, dedicated and effective public servant,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), the subcommittee’s ranking member. “We did not always agree, but it was never personal, and it was always an honest and in some cases fun debate.”
It’s not yet clear who will take Garrett’s place at the helm of the panel, but senior committee members Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) are considered top candidates. Huizenga told Morning Consult this week that he’s expressed interest in the post.