Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) grilled former executives from recently failed banks Tuesday on whether there should be work requirements for banking officials whose firms are “bailed out” by the federal government.
Fetterman pointed out that Republicans want to increase work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is used by millions of needy families for food access, a provision that was part of the debt ceiling bill the House GOP passed last month.
Fetterman asked the former bank executives, who included former CEO of Silicon Valley Bank Gregory Becker and Scott Shay and Eric Howell, former chair and president of Signature Bank, respectively, whether the same type of work requirements should be in place for executives of banks that are given federal assistance as they collapse.
“A hungry family has to have these kinds of working requirements,” Fetterman said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday. “Shouldn’t you have a working requirement, after we bail out your bank?”
The former bank executives did not answer Fetterman’s question. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chair of the committee, quipped to Fetterman that he “didn’t see an eagerness on the panel to answer your questions.”
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank earlier this year sent shockwaves through the banking system and the U.S. economy. The federal government moved to backstop all uninsured deposits at the firms, hoping to stave off a wider consumer reaction.
Fetterman hit Republicans for being “more preoccupied” with adding working requirements for SNAP recipients than “protecting the taxpayers” that will bail a bank out.
Following the collapse of the banks, federal lawmakers have been pointing to federal regulators and bank executives for missing warning signs, with many Democrats arguing there need to be tighter restrictions on the banking industry.