Chair: Sherrod Brown
Projected Grade for the 117th Congress
0 Investigative Oversight Hearings
15 Policy/Legislative Hearings
57 Total HearingsLast updated: Dec. 3, 2021, 5:41 p.m.
The committee has jurisdiction over the banking industry and other financial institutions, mortgage policy, the Federal Reserve, and economic policy. It also handles legislation on urban policy and mass transit. Its moves to deregulate or re-regulate the financial industry can impact some of the most powerful companies in the country, as well as the hundreds of millions of Americans who have bank accounts, credit cards or home mortgages. Over the years the committee has passed major legislation in response to financial crises. These include the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act after the $160 billion savings and loan collapse in the 1980s; the Sarbanes-Oxley act in response to the Enron scandal; and the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation following the Great Recession of 2007-09. It also passed the 2001 PATRIOT act to counter terrorist financing and international money laundering. Twice annually the chairman of the Federal Reserve testifies before the committee on monetary policy. The committee has five subcommittees: economic policy; financial institutions and consumer protection; housing, transportation and community development; national security and international trade and finance; and securities, insurance and investment.
Over the 10-year period, the committee’s hearing activity has ranged widely, from 113 in the 112th Congress (2011-12) under Chair Tim Johnson (D, S.D.) to 50 in the 114th Congress (2015-16) under Chair Richard Shelby (R, Ala.). In the 115th Congress (2017-18), the committee held 66 hearings under Sen. Mike Crapo (R, Ida.). In the most recent Congress (2019-20), the committee held just 55 hearings. That was well below the rate under Democratic chairs Johnson and Sen. Chris Dodd (D, Conn.), and a bit below the average for other Senate committees without large nomination responsibilities.
The number of legislative and policy oversight hearings dropped under Sen. Crapo and the previous Republican chair, Sen. Shelby, in the 114th, 115th, and 116th Congresses, compared to their Democratic predecessors. In the 116th Congress, the committee held 28 policy and legislative oversight hearings, a decrease from 39 in the previous Congress and fewer than most Senate committees with broad legislative authority.
Under Republican leadership the committee held four investigative oversight hearings over the past three Congresses. In the 116th, the committee examined malfeasance in the private sector through its investigation of Facebook's recruitment of financial institutions to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system using its social network. Through this hearing, held in July 2019, the committee investigated potential misuse by money launderers and concerns over consumer privacy.
111th Congress: Chris Dodd (D-CT)
112th Congress: Tim Johnson (D-SD)
113th Congress: Tim Johnson (D-SD)
114th Congress: Richard Shelby (R-AL)
115th Congress: Richard Shelby (R-AL)
116th Congress: Mike Crapo (R-ID)
117th Congress: Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
We are 51% of the way through the 117th Congress
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]