McHenry rejects ‘wokeness’ allegations in Financial Services Committee agenda

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, nominate s U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California to serve as U.S. House speaker. (Image from

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  • "This is not about woke-ism or mandates on job creators, it’s an effort to ensure fair and equal access to our financial system no matter your race, party affiliation, or political beliefs," Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, in a statement to Carolina Journal.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC10, is receiving pushback from conservative media for language on “diversity and inclusion” in the jurisdiction descriptions for each of the subcommittees of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, of which he took over as chair following the Republicans’ narrow victory in the 2022 midterms.

Washington Free Beacon led with the headline, “Woke Agenda Survives: These House Republicans Are Sticking With ‘Diversity and Inclusion,‘” and a headline from the American Conservative read, “The DEI Republicans.”

But in Jan. 24 comments to Carolina Journal, McHenry says the language reflects jurisdiction over those topics but not a similar mission with Democrats. He also noted that he eliminated the “Diversity and Inclusion” subcommittee on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and replaced it with a Subcommittee on Digital Assets.

“For four years under Democrat rule, the Financial Services Committee was sidetracked by far-left social policy pet projects,” McHenry said. “That effort was housed in the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee. North Carolinians made it clear last November when they helped elect a Republican House majority that woke mandates and progressive posturing was not their priority. That’s why, one of my first acts as Chairman was to eliminate that Subcommittee and put in its place a Subcommittee on Digital Assets—a critical issue, particularly in light of the actions of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX.”

McHenry said that statements by his immediate predecessor, Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters of California, shows the difference between the priorities of the two parties. Waters blasted McHenry in the statement for getting rid of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee.

“I am deeply disappointed and disturbed to hear that committee Republicans plan to eliminate the diversity and inclusion subcommittee,” said Waters in her statements. “Our efforts to combat inequities in America’s financial services systems including wealth inequality, gender and racial wage gaps, and high poverty rates ushered in major wins for women, communities of color, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses. Not to mention, we finally put a spotlight on the challenges facing persons with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and justice-involved individuals.”

McHenry appointed the outgoing ranking member of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri, to chair a subcommittee overseeing capital markets. McHenry’s shuffling of the pivotal committee and its leadership shows his priorities for his time as chairman, including crypto and financial technology.

“Ranking Member Waters’ press release in response to my elimination of the D&I Subcommittee exemplifies Democrats’ radical views regarding diversity—views Republicans do not share and will not pursue as part of the Committee’s agenda,” McHenry said. “I can tell you what Republicans are for: charting a path out of the dismal Biden economy, conducting oversight of rogue regulators, and ensuring access to financial products for all Americans. As Chairman, I will refocus the Committee on these and other kitchen table issues that matter most to families in North Carolina and across the U.S.”

McHenry did assert that there are positive elements to seeking diversity and inclusion, however, and that there would be some focus on these legitimate areas of oversight.

“We as conservatives can and should be attuned to any efforts to discriminate against American citizens and infringe upon their rights,” he said. “That is what I have deputized my Subcommittee Chairs to do. This is not about woke-ism or mandates on job creators; it’s an effort to ensure fair and equal access to our financial system no matter your race, party affiliation, or political beliefs.”