On Thursday, Congressman Bill Huizenga spoke in support of H.R. 4771, the Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act. This bipartisan bill sponsored by Congresswoman Mia Love would reduce burdensome regulation on community banks and further strengthen the ability of these local financial institutions to support local small businesses across West Michigan. H.R. 4771 passed the House by a vote of 280-139. Congressman Huizenga is a member of the Financial Services Committee, and serves as Chairman of the Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment Subcommittee.
We've been hearing some of the details about the bill, but here's the real message: this is about our small communities and small banks that are the lifeblood of those communities. A little earlier you heard the ranking member talking about this being about Wall Street. You know what? She’s right. This is about Wall Street. Wall Street was one block away from where I lived on Sanford Street in Zeeland, Michigan. We were connected by Main Street and Central Avenue. That is who it is about. Whether it's Wall Street in Zeeland, Michigan, or Sanford Street, or my friends in Baldwin, Michigan, this is about our small communities.
So what does a strong local community bank bring? It brings local investment. What does that local investment bring? Stability, predictability, trust – trust among the farmers, among those corner pub owners, among those small hotel owners that may be depending on the stray traveler that's going to be coming through.
This has been sort of viewed as a risk to these small banks. It's actually the opposite of that, because either, “A”, one small community bank is going to merge with another small community bank and they are going to remain small community banks under that $3 billion threshold. Or “B” they're going to get gobbled up by a large bank that doesn't qualify under this legislation and guess what? They're far more likely to remove those ATM's, far more likely to move those local branches out of places like Tustin and Luther and Baldwin and Holland.
If you went and said that this is about anything other than strengthening our small community banks, it either shows one is wildly out of touch or playing politics and that's the sad part. I can tell you this. If you talk to my friend, Debbie Smith-Olson, the CEO of Lake-Osceola State Bank in Baldwin, Michigan located in the poorest county in the State of Michigan and one of the top 100 poorest counties in the nation. If you told her this was about Wall Street, she'd laugh.
If you went and talked to my friends at Macatawa Bank and tried to describe this as about helping big banks and Wall Street and rolling back Dodd-Frank – they would first look at me in stunned silence and then they would ask me, ‘are you serious?’ Unfortunately that's the kind of rhetoric that you're hearing out here today.
Let's make sure that we understand what this is really about – strengthening our small banks which strengthen our small communities and strengthen our small business owners. That is what is going to continue this economic comeback that we are experiencing here in the United States.
I commend the gentlelady from Utah and her work on a bipartisan manner and the basis that this has been coming together with people of good will trying to come up with a solution to make sure that we don't see needless consolidation in a banking community that's already been so hit.
This is about making sure we have a solid community banking system. We know they have been under assault under the Dodd-Frank provisions that have come through that I don't think were maliciously put in, but they were misunderstood about what those effects would be. The gentlelady from Utah is rectifying that. I want to encourage my colleagues to support and vote yes for this very important bill.
Earlier today, I introduced the Family Reunification Act. This legislation would require the federal government to reunite children that had been recently separated from their parents at the southern border. For years, partisan bickering has prevented meaningful immigration reform from being achieved. It is my hope that by reuniting children with their parents, the Family Reunification Act will build bipartisan momentum for solutions that strengthen border security and reform our outdated immigration system. You can read the text of the legislation here https://huizenga.house.gov/uploadedfiles/6.21.18.huizenga.reunification.legislation.pdf
The Administration must end the policy of separating children from their families immediately. If the Administration is unwilling to do so, then the House should immediately pass narrowly tailored legislation to end separations. While there are divisions on other areas of immigration, there is broad bipartisan support to put an end to this inhumane policy.
What is happening at the border is heartbreaking. I'm committed to leading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to find a humane solution that ends automatic separations and keeps families together. I have reached out to both Republican and Democrat offices in search of a workable bipartisan solution.
I am encouraged by the pro-active changes being made to the legislation that addresses family separations, DACA, and border integrity being considered by the House this week. Tonight’s meeting with President Trump provides an opportunity to work toward modernizing our immigration system and providing resolution to the crisis along the southern border.
The United States is a nation of laws, but it is also a nation of compassion. It’s clear the catch and release policy implemented by the previous Administration failed to stem the tide of people entering the country illegally. While changes in policy are necessary, the notion of automatically separating families runs counter to my values as a father as well as the core values of our nation. We must find a legislative solution that balances our compassion with the fact that some individuals are exploiting loopholes in our immigration system and actively trafficking children across the border. This week the House is scheduled to address the issue of border integrity, DACA, and family separation. There is an opportunity to have a workable bipartisan solution if we can stop the partisan bickering and actually put our nation first.