News & Politics

Elizabeth Warren Puts the Screws to Corporate Democrats with a Single Question

Her party is prepared to pass a "Bank Lobbyist Act." Nevertheless she persisted.

Photo Credit: YouTube

"Nevertheless... she persisted."

But even as her latest persistence is quite clearly causing ongoing frustration with some in her own party, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over the weekend continued to denounce a bill that would loosen restrictions on some of the nation's largest banks and urge her senate colleagues—including the 17 Democratic caucus members who voted to advance the measure last week—to vote against the proposal when it comes up for a final vote as early as Monday.

"The #BankLobbyistAct," Warren declared in a tweet on Sunday, "rolls back the rules on the biggest banks in the country and increases the chances of another taxpayer bailout. How can any Senator vote for that?

Appearing on both NBC's "Meet the Press" and CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning, Warren reiterated her opposition to the bill, warning that it would undo key safeguards for some of the very same large banks that in 2008 helped plunged the nation into recession and crash the global economy.

Watch her response to questions from journalist Jim Acosta about the bill, and the support it is receiving from Democrats, on CNN:

Last year, Warren famously spawned the #ShePersisted hashtag on social media after she was silenced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the floor of the Senate during the confirmation battle over Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Speaking with NBC's Chuck Todd, Warren did not shy away from her critique of the pending banking legislation and—though she did not name names—made it clear she has little patience for those she views as siding with Wall Street banks over American consumers and the broader health of the economy.

"Look, I don't understand how anybody in the United States Senate votes for a bill that's going to increase the likelihood of taxpayer bailouts," Warren said.

While noting how the legislation could lead to increased discriminatory lending practices and loosens capital controls in a way that puts the wider economy at risk, Warren said, "I think that we do better as a country and we do better as a Congress when we're there to fight for working people and not for Wall Street banks."

Writing in the Guardian on Sunday, columnist Ross Barkan remarks, "perhaps it's not so surprising that the Democratic establishment hasn't learned the lessons of its failure. In an economy hollowed out by the Great Recession, legacy Democrats lurch, occasionally, in a populist direction before retreating to where they are most comfortable: doing favors for the rich in exchange for campaign donations."

To highlight the bill's major shortcomings, as Common Dreams reported, Warren last week put forth 17 amendments for the legislation in order to make sure it would not threaten U.S. consumers or threaten the economy. As Bloomberg reports Sunday:

Warren champions the progressive wing's position, arguing that rolling back the rules would leave Americans at risk in another major crisis. Her proposed changes include ensuring banks that received more than $1 billion in bailout funds remain highly regulated, imposing penalties on credit bureaus that were hacked and preventing employers from asking job applicants for credit reports.

On Saturday, Warren posted the following video to Twitter in which she described the bill as "madness" and "greed run wild":

And late Friday, Warren posted another video featuring the late Paul Wellstone—the progressive U.S. senator from Minnesota who died in a plane crash in 2002—as he gave a floor speech in the late 1990s during which he similarly tried to warn colleagues (unsuccessfully, it turns out) against repealing the Glass-Steagall and other Wall Street regulations:

Not alone, but certainly leading the charge, most of Warren's Senate Democratic colleagues, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), also oppose the bill.

"Unbelievably," Sanders said Friday, "Congress right now wants to deregulate some of the same banks that helped cause the 2008 financial disaster. That is really unacceptable."

And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), has also been a vocal leader against the legislation. Last week, pushing back against the false argument that the bill is simply designed to help "regional" and "community" banks, Brown said, "If we want to help community banks, let's help community banks. We don't have to give big banks more just because they ask for it."

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