As GOP gripes about bank bailouts, McHenry confident regulators will 'do the right thing'

House Television via AP

House Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry is standing by the Biden administration’s response to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, as other Republicans blast the White House over its rescue of their depositors.

“For today, the important thing is to convey that the regulators have the power and tools necessary to get us through,” the North Carolina Republican, who also served through the 2008 banking crisis, said in an interview Monday afternoon. “I’m confident in their ability to do the right thing.”

“We'll find out in the coming hours and days whether or not that [that response] is sufficient,” he added.

The federal government’s response to the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank has unleashed a chorus of complaints from GOP politicians who claim that authorities failed to take steps to prevent the failures — the largest since the global financial crisis. The potential for panic at other banks forced the agencies to roll out a rescue plan Sunday night so that thousands of business customers would have access to all their money on Monday — guaranteeing deposits above the established deposit insurance limit of $250,000.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, cautioned shortly after the plans were announced that the U.S. risked building “a culture of government intervention” for risky financial institutions. Other GOP lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri — along with presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy — blasted the federal government’s backstopping of uninsured deposits as a safety net for institutions that were overly focused on sustainable investment goals like climate change.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the Financial Services Committee's top Democrat, said in an interview Monday that she wanted to schedule a hearing on Silicon Valley Bank “as soon as possible.” But McHenry declined to commit.

“As the chair of the committee I’ll make those decisions in the coming days," he said.

For now, McHenry said his focus was on organizing lawmaker briefings with the administration.

“This is day-by-day," McHenry said. "I lived as a member of Congress during the financial crisis and so ensuring accurate and adequate and quick information in a dynamic situation is difficult. But we're trying our best and I know the agencies and the administration are as well."

Federal authorities were scheduled to brief members of House Financial Services at 6 p.m. Monday. McHenry and Financial Services vice chair French Hill (R-Ark.) will join House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to brief House Republicans at 8 p.m. Monday.