California representative Katie Porter (D.) skipped out on a full committee hearing on the so-called student loan crisis even though she is the primary sponsor of a student loan-related bill slated by the committee as being integral to the hearing's purpose.
With Congress coming back from August recess this week, the House Committee on Financial Services held a nearly four-hour hearing on Tuesday titled, "A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding Student Loan Servicers Accountable."
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"It appears that this may, in fact, be the first-ever full committee hearing in its history focused on student lending and the many financial ramifications it has for student borrowers," committee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) heralded in her opening statements.
Although Porter was not in the committee hearing, a tweet from the California Democrat clearly shows she was at the Capitol that morning.
Requests for comment to Porter's office were not returned.
Porter's work on the Financial Services Committee has led left-leaning outlets like Mother Jones to call her "Elizabeth Warren's Protégée," referring to the Massachusetts senator who created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Porter's bill would give the CFPB's student-loan ombudsman strengthened oversight powers. The bill was listed under the "Legislation" header for the committee's webpage on hearing information.
Additionally, Porter's own resume and district have strong ties to academia. The University of California at Irvine is in her district's boundaries, and the university's website still lists her as a professor, but notes that she is on unpaid leave.
The freshman congresswoman also drew attention to herself via the committee earlier this year when she grilled JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon about the wages for an entry-level teller position at the bank.
Porter crafted a hypothetical employee, "Patricia," and further created an imaginary budget to argue that the "single mom" could not reasonably get by on the wage.
A subsequent report by the Washington Free Beacon, however, showed that Porter is paying some of her office staffers a nearly identical wage.