Thursday, January 15, 2015

Will The GOP Eviscerate Wall Street Reform? Not Without The Help Of The New Dems



Generally speaking, the New Dems are thought of as the arm of the conservative, corporate-oriented DLC inside the House. That isn't the way it was meant to be, however. Almost two decades ago 5 right-wing Democrats-- Blanche Lincoln (AR), Joe Lieberman (CT), Bob Graham (FL), Evan Bayh (IN) and Mary Landrieu (LA)-- started the Senate branch of the New Democrat Coalition, primarily to push through the unfair trade agreements Wall Street and Big Business were clamouring for. None of those senators are still serving; all were defeated in reelection bids or otherwise driven from office. Like their House counterparts, they have been heavily financed-- inordinately so-- by Wall Street.

When Wall Street claims to be "bipartisan" and points to the fact that the finance sector gives to both Republicans and Democrats, what it should be pointing out is that the finance sector gives to both Republicans and to the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, i.e., the New Dems and Blue Dogs. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, since 1989 New Dems have taken over $50 million in legalistic bribes from the finance sector. In return, New Dems have performed little tasks in Congress for the banksters-- like persuading Barney Frank to drop provisions in his hallmark Wall Street reform bill that would have required banks to offer so-called plain vanilla products like 30-year mortgages or low-fee credit cards.

In the cycle that just ended the half dozen House Democrats who took the biggest bribes from the finance sector-- Republican-sized bribes-- were all New Dems eager to sell out their own constituents to the banksters:
Gary Peters (MI)- $1,350,337
Joe Crowley (NY)- $1,174,883
Jim Himes (CT)- $1,128,938
Patrick Murphy (FL)- $1,128,938
Steve Israel (NY)- $901,792
Sean Patrick Maloney (NY)- $797,372
Look at those 6 names. They are the face of the worst corruption and hypocrisy among House Democrats. The Democratic Party can never be a people's party when it elevates self-serving gangsters like these 6 crooks. Yesterday Jonathan Weisman and Eric Lipton tip-toed around their names in reporting for the NY Times about Wall Street's latest push to undermine Dodd-Frank reform. Weisman's and Lipton's main congressional culprits are, of course, the Republicans. But the Republican wing of the Democratic Party shares the glory... and the spoils.

In the span of a month, the nation’s biggest banks and investment firms have twice won passage of measures to weaken regulations intended to help lessen the risk of another financial crisis, setting their sights on narrow, arcane provisions and greasing their efforts with a surge of lobbying and campaign contributions.

The continuing assault on the 2010 Dodd-Frank law has achieved remarkable success, especially compared with the repeated failures of opponents of another 2010 law, the Affordable Care Act.

The financial industry has been methodical, drafting technically complicated legislation that can pass the heavily Republican House with a few Democratic votes. And then, once approved, Wall Street has pushed to tack such measures on to larger bills considered too important for the White House to block.

...“This all works together: Put it up for stand-alone vote, get some Democrats on it, and then when you push it onto a must-pass bill, say it’s a bipartisan bill that’s already passed,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, which favors tighter regulation of Wall Street. “The strategy on Dodd-Frank is death by a thousand cuts.”

Even with other interest groups seeking the same consideration, the financial industry likes its chances.

“There are limited opportunities for action in both the House and Senate,” said James Ballentine, a lobbyist at the American Bankers Association. “And the moving trains generally have a lot of passengers on them.”

Proponents of regulation say that they are badly outgunned by an army of Wall Street lobbyists, and complain that the Obama administration has been too weak in its response.

“The president was slow in drawing the same kind of line on financial reform that he did on health care,” said Barney Frank, the retired chairman of the House Financial Services Committee who helped write Dodd-Frank.

The current efforts to undermine Dodd-Frank have been textbook lobbying. In the first three quarters of last year, the securities and investment industry spent nearly $74 million on lobbying-- on 704 registered lobbyists--according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was on track to easily beat out the $99 million spent in 2013.

The Securities Industry and Financial Market Association, Wall Street’s biggest lobbying group, had spent $5.8 million alone through September, the last data available. The group spent $5.2 million in all of 2013.

Lobbying expenditures by every specific industry group declined in 2014, except for the finance, insurance and real estate sector. That sector increased its spending by 2.5 percent.

As of Nov. 16, Wall Street banks and other financial interests had spent $1.2 billion on campaign contributions and lobbying combined, a total that was on track to beat spending in 2010, when Dodd-Frank was being considered in Congress, according to Americans for Financial Reform.

And Wall Street has been a steady donor, particularly to members of the House Financial Services Committee, where the legislation typically gets started. During the last Congress, Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the Republican chairman of the committee, received donations on 13 separate occasions from political action committees run by Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
Yesterday the House passed that Wall Street deregulation package they fumbled last week. It passed 271-154, Garamendi (who's thinking about running for statewide office, ducking the vote). DelBene and Esty also came back to the Democrats. There were 29 Democrats who sucked up to Wall Street, voting with the GOP against their own constituents' financial safety. Freshmen first:
• Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)
• Don Beyer (New Dem-VA)
• Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Julia Brownley (New Dem-CA)
Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)
John Carney (New Dem-DE)
Jerry Connolly (New Dem-VA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
John Delaney (New Dem-TX)
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)
Brian Higgins (NY)
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
Derek Kilmer (New Dem-WA)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA)
Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Jared Polis (New Dem-CO)
Mike Quigley (New Dem-IL)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
David Scott (Blue Dog-GA)
Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Albio Sires (NJ)
Collin Peterson and Dave Loesback both of whom voted badly last week, missed the vote yesterday. And Bobby Rush, like Hank Johnson, seems to have figured out the error of his ways; both voted NO yesterday.

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At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article points out how much damage the GOP majority has already done, with two years remaining to wreak even more havoc, in their quest to scrap America for the benefit of the mentally-ill greed heads.


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