June 21, 2023

Brown Advances Bipartisan Bills to Hold Bank Executives Accountable and Curb the Flow of Deadly Fentanyl into Communities

Banking and Housing Committee Passes the FEND Off Fentanyl Act and the RECOUP Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a legislative markup of hisFentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act and Recovering Executive Compensation Obtained from Unaccountable Practices (RECOUP) Act.

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act passed unanimously, and the RECOUP Act advanced by a vote of 21-2 .

Sen. Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery follow:

Today we will mark up two pieces of bipartisan legislation: S. 1271, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, and an original bill authored by Ranking Member Scott and me—the Recovering Executive Compensation Obtained from Unaccountable Practices, or RECOUP Act.

The bipartisan bills we will consider today will make our communities safer, by helping stop the flow of dangerous fentanyl into our neighborhoods, and make our economy fairer, by holding bank executives accountable for their failures.

Both bills are true collaborations. 

Ranking Member Scott and I have taken feedback and ideas from members on and off this Committee. We talked, we listened, and we negotiated in good faith to reach agreement on both bills.

I want to thank Ranking Member Scott and his staff for their work with my staff.  I also want to thank all our members for their input. 

This Committee has come together to address one of the most significant crises of our time: the flood of dangerous, illicit fentanyl that is taking thousands of lives and devastating communities in Ohio and South Carolina and around the country. 

Ranking Member Scott and I listened to law enforcement and community leaders and advocates for Americans struggling with addiction, and worked together to introduce the FEND Off Fentanyl Act. 

We have nearly every member of our committee and more than half of all Senators as cosponsors. Just today we reached 60 cosponsors. 

We have a broad outside coalition pushing for this bill – everyone from the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence to the National Sheriff’s Association.

It’s an issue that hits home for each of us. In 2021, fentanyl was involved in 80 percent of Ohio’s unintentional drug overdose deaths. I hold roundtables all over the state, and I hear over and over from Ohioans from all walks of life that we need new, more powerful tools to prevent the flow of fentanyl into our communities. 

It’s why our bill uses our economic arsenal to target the foreign fentanyl supply chain – from the Chinese chemical suppliers, to the Mexican cartel distributors, to the money launderers profiting off the illicit drug trade. 

I want to thank my colleagues for joining this bill and look forward to continuing working with all of you to get this signed into law.

Today we’ll also consider the RECOUP Act. This bill is part of the Committee’s response to the historic bank failures of earlier this spring.

Throughout the spring, we held hearings – bringing before the Committee the executives of these failed banks, the bank regulators, and experts on executive accountability.

The Committee members agreed that these executives failed at the basics of bank management, they pushed an unsustainable business model because it increased short-term profits and their own compensation, they ignored directives and warnings from regulators, they took risky bets at the expense of their customers, and they paid themselves bonuses right up until the moment the FDIC was forced to step in.

American workers and their families should not be forced to pay the price for executives’ risky bets that don’t pay off – whether they’re on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley.

To most Americans, the lack of Wall Street accountability tracks with their entire experience with our economy.

Workers face the consequences for bad decisions made in corporate boardrooms. The executives who made those decisions ride off into the sunset – with their bonuses and stock options.

Americans will never forget that, by and large, the Wall Street executives who caused the 2008 financial crisis didn’t face any consequences. Their profits and bonuses weren’t clawed back.

We cannot – we will not – let that happen again.

Our bill with Sen. Scott ensures that bank executives will face real accountability for gambling with customers’ money.

The bill does several key things – it will:

  • Strengthen regulators’ ability to ban or remove executives who fail to appropriately oversee and manage their bank.
  • Provide the FDIC authority to claw back compensation of failed bank senior executives.
  • Increase and strengthen certain penalties against bad actors.
  • And require banks to adopt corporate governance and accountability standards that promote responsible management.

Bank executives who take on too much risk and crash their banks shouldn’t get to land on their feet, they shouldn’t get to keep the profits they made by making bad bets with other people’s money, and they shouldn’t get to take their bad behavior to another bank.

I want to thank the Members on and off this Committee who introduced different bills to address this problem. Their work helped generate ideas, build momentum for action, and advance this effort.

And I want to thank Ranking Member Scott and his staff for working with my staff and me on this legislation.

We have bipartisan agreement on a comprehensive bill that cracks down on irresponsible executives who poorly manage their banks and put customers and workers and the entire economy at risk.

I think that means the Ranking Member and I have threaded the needle well.