Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs. the Banks: What Is the House Financial Services Committee New York Rep Will Join?

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, has secured a seat on the influential House Financial Services Committee. She has vowed to dig into such ssues as student loans and for-profit prisons.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to sit on this committee as a freshman, and look forward to working under the leadership of @RepMaxineWaters!" Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is the youngest woman to win a seat in Congress, tweeted.

"Personally, I'm looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public & postal banking. To start."

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The House Financial Services Committee oversees all elements of the sector, including banking, public and private housing, credit and insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities. It continually reviews, as explained on its website, the laws and programs related to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and international development and finance agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It also ensures enforcement of housing and consumer protection laws such as the U.S. Housing Act, the Truth In Lending Act, the Housing and Community Development Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Community Reinvestment Act, and financial privacy laws.

Like other committees, it wields subpoena power, meaning it can demand the appearance of individuals to testify under oath or turn over documents.

Ocasio-Cortez has been a critic of the financial system, and has siad she would like to see the break-up of the biggest banks and the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated investment and commercial banking.

She has also calle for higher taxes on the biggest earners. Recently, she outlined her plan for a 70 percent top tax rate on those earning more than $10 million a year to fund the "Green New Deal," a climate-friendly public investment package intended to improve infrastructure and public services, and create jobs.

During her campaign, Ocasio-Cortez also called for postal banking, "which will revitalize the United States Postal Service, provide a low-cost source of basic banking services for disenfranchised communities and increase competition in the banking industry," according to her website.

Ocasio-Cortez was elected in November after a major Democratic primary upset in June when she unseated the 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, whose name had been floated as a potential House speaker.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez house banks
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, leaves a photo op with the female Democratic members of the 116th U.S. House of Representatives outside, on January 4. She secured a spot on the influential House Finance Committee. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images