The House Financial Services Committee this morning rounded out a full week of congressional hearings for former Equifax CEO Richard Smith. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) reiterated his earlier calls for national standards for data security and breach notifications.
Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) blasted the “stranglehold” that credit reporting agencies have on the American consumer and touted her newly introduced bill, H.R. 3755, the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act. H.R. 3755 would shift the burden of fixing credit mistakes towards the agencies and away from consumers. It would additionally limit the use of credit reports in the employment background check process.
Ranking Member Waters questioned the relevance of Smith’s presence before the committee, arguing that since he is no longer a permanent member of Equifax he cannot adequately inform Congress of the steps the company is taking to address the breach. Smith defended the relevancy of his testimony, stating that he is still an advisor to company leadership.
With five panel hearings completed, both the House and Senate have had extensive opportunity to both criticize Equifax for its shortcomings and gather information on the breach itself. Whether Congress will use this information and come to a consensus on how to ensure consumers’ rights are protected in the future remains to be seen.