Monday, February 04, 2013

Wall Street Whores In DC (I.E., Conservative Politicians) Still Fighting Against Protecting Bank Customers


Miss & Debbie-- On Feb. 26, don't feed the troll

It was close, but on December 11, 2009, the House passed, 223-202 the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, better known as Dodd-Frank, which, among other things, established Elizabeth Warren's brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect baking customers from financial industry predators. Every single House Republican voted against it, of course-- and so did 27 Wall Street-bought Democrats. Eleven months later, almost all of those Democrats had either been forced to resign rather than be defeated or were actually defeated. One, Arizona corporate shill Ann Kirkpatrick managed to get back into Congress in November and she is currently the only Democrat in the House who has voted with the GOP 100% of the time on crucial roll calls. 

Another Democrat who voted against Dodd-Frank in 2009 and was then turned out of office by her constituents, Debbie Halvorson, is fighting to get back into Congress in a special election three weeks from tomorrow. The seat is open because of the resignation of Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Halvorson is freaking out because Dodd-Frank has come back to haunt her. Last week, the president of the Cook County Board, Toni Preckwinkle, endorsed Halvorson's progressive opponent, state Senator Toi Hutchinson. Her statement was a nightmare for Halvorson, a self-described "conservative Democrat," who has hoped to win the seat flying under the radar: "In just one term, Halvorson managed to vote against President Obama's agenda on 88 separate occasions. Debbie Halvorson voted against tough reforms on Wall Street and against extending unemployment benefits. And she even sided with the Republicans to give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent of the population."

But IL-02 isn't the only place where the battle over Dodd-Frank is in the news again. For conservatives and their bankster allies, the loss on December 11, 2009 triggered a war to disable and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If not for their machinations Elizabeth Warren would be running it now and their favorite senator, Scott Brown, would still be carrying their water in Washington. Instead, Warren is a U.S. Senator and member of the Banking Committee and Brown's political career is-- at best-- on hold.

But Republican Party obstruction in the Senate is alive and well-- and threatening to weaken the Bureau once again. As Pat Garofalo reported for ThinkProgress, the Republicans said they would block any nominee to head the CFBC-- "regardless of that nominee’s qualifications for the job-- unless the Bureau was weakened and made subservient to the same bank regulators who failed to prevent the 2008 financial crisis." Although the November elections dealt Miss McConnell a weaker hand, his success in hoodwinking Harry Reid on filibuster reform have left the GOP in a position to continue their obstruction on behalf of Wall Street. Obama has again nominated former Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray, who he gave a recess appointment that ends next December, to be director. But the Republicans still insist on watering down the agency before they agree to allow a vote on Cordray. Miss McConnell (R-KY), who has taken $7,410,797 in legalistic bribes from Wall Street since 1990, and Mike Crapo (R-ID) who has accepted over $2 million in bribes from the banksters since being appointed the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, sent a letter sent to President Obama on Friday, co-signed by 43 Republican senators (all but Bob Corker and Rob Portman), committing themselves to obdurate obstructionism unless they get their way on undermining the Bureau.
Republicans want to see the top of the bureau changed so it is run by a bipartisan, five-member commission, as opposed to a lone director.

They also want to see the bureau’s funding fall under the control of congressional appropriators-- it currently is funded via a revenue stream directly from the Federal Reserve, and its funding levels cannot be altered by Congress. Republicans also want to give other regulators greater power to veto CFPB rules that could pose a threat to the safety and soundness of financial institutions.

...Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) dismissed the latest GOP pronouncement as "just politics at play."

"The CFPB enjoys overwhelming public support, and there is no evidence that the bureau is unaccountable and that structural changes are necessary," Johnson said. "The market needs certainty, and blocking Richard Cordray's nomination is a disservice to consumers and industry alike."
Debbie Halvorson isn't running for the Senate; she's running for the House. But a big defeat for her in the February 26 primary will help make it clear to conservatives inside the Beltway-- and on both sides of the aisle-- that if they vote against the interests of their constituents and kiss up to their financiers on Wall Street, their careers are in jeopardy. Please consider helping make sure DC gets that message by supporting Toi Hutchinson here at the ActBlue special election page Blue America set up.

And since we're discussing how conservatives are determined to continue wrecking the country, it's worth watching how Krugman eviscerated Carly Fiorina's tired right-wing dogma on TV yesterday.

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