Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Heitkamp: "We Have Enough Votes Right Now To Pass It," And By "We" She Means The Corrupt Senators Owned By Wall Street


Looks like I stumbled onto something Saturday-- my use of the term "Bailout Caucus," pissed off some senators. Turns out the polite way of talking about the topic is to refer to the "Bank Lobbyist Act." My bad. The good guys gnash their teeth when rebellious types refer to corrupt right of center Democrats-- many in danger of losing their seats because they are corrupt and right of center-- as the BailoutCaucus: Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Jon Tester (MT), Chris Coons (DE), Tom Carper (DE), Joe Donnelly (IN), Claire McCaskill (MO), Gary Peters (MI), Mark Warner (VA), Tim Kaine (VA), Joe Manchin (WV) and Michael Bennet (CO) + independent Angus King (ME).

We'll leave that aside for a moment and go over what NPR reported, a report you can listen to at the top of the page about how the Trump Regime and their Republican allies in Congress are in the process of destroying the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Trump's interim head of the bureau, corrupt anti-regulation fanatic Mick Mulvaney has been trying to make "radical changes to deter the agency from aggressively pursuing its mission."
The CFPB on Monday unveiled a new strategic plan to that end. In a message accompanying the plan for the years 2018 through 2022, Mulvaney wrote, "we have committed to fulfill the Bureau's statutory responsibilities, but go no further." The plan says the bureau should be "acting with humility and moderation."

This new direction is consistent with Mulvaney's other memos and statements and formalizes his plans for defanging the watchdog bureau and reshaping its mission, according to insiders and experts that NPR has talked to.

The CFPB is considered a powerful and independent watchdog. But many Republicans have wanted to shut it down since Day 1 because they think it's too powerful. Mulvaney is one of them. As a congressman, Mulvaney called the agency a "sick sad joke." He drafted legislation to abolish it. So people at the bureau were shocked when the president appointed him to run this consumer protection agency.

Within weeks of coming on board, Mulvaney has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. Under his leadership, the CFPB delayed a new payday lending regulation from going into effect and dropped an investigation into one payday lender that contributed to Mulvaney's campaign. In another move that particularly upset some staffers, the new boss also dropped a lawsuit against an alleged online loan shark called Golden Valley Lending. The suit says the lender illegally charges people up to 950 percent interest rates. It took CFPB staffers years to build the case.

"People are devastated and angry-- just imagine how you would feel if years of your life had been dedicated to pursuing justice and you lose everything," says Christopher Peterson, a former Office of Enforcement attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who worked on this particular case early on.

Peterson believes that had the lawsuit been pursued and the CFPB won, it could have clawed back money to help thousands of people who have allegedly been hurt by the lender.

...In his new strategic plan and in memos to staff, Mulvaney has made it clear that he wants to rein in the bureau... Some see this as Mulvaney's way of paying back supporters of his campaign.

"As a congressman he took $62,000 plus from the payday lenders. And now at the CFPB he's doing their bidding," says Karl Frisch, executive director of the consumer group Allied Progress... Of course, Mulvaney's moves could be just conservative ideology for less regulation.
Zachary Warmbrodt's report at Politico Pro is behind a paywall (as of Monday morning) and is far more political and far more ominous than NPR's folksy report. "A debate over the biggest bank deregulation bill since the 2008 Wall Street meltdown," he wrote, "is splitting Senate Democrats and threatening to magnify the party's divisions as it fights to win back Congress." He explained that on one side are the corrupt right-wing assholes and cowards like "Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester from Republican-leaning states who support the legislation because they say it will provide relief to small and regional banks and boost rural economies. On the other side are progressive Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and their activist allies, who argue that the bill will put consumers at risk and are working to undercut the moderates, several of whom have tough re-election campaigns this year."

That the legislation-- yes the one we referred to above as the "Bank Lobbyist Act"-- is facing a vote in the next few weeks and is coming a decade after the worst credit crunch since the Great Depression has fueled passions around the debate. Elizabeth Warren said that she's "amazed that, on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis, some Democrats are supporting the Trump administration and Senate Republicans on a bill to roll back the financial rules we put in place." The bill put together by Wall Street lobbyists and Mike Crapo (R-ID), S. 2155, "would scale back regulations that Democrats pushed through in 2010 in the Dodd-Frank Act-- the sweeping statute that rewrote the rules of the financial industry and is one of President Barack Obama's signature achievements." Funny how the lobbyist-fueled lawmakers on both sides of the aisle "say the landmark law should be recalibrated to ease restrictions on lenders, in particular the smallest banks that were not responsible for the worst excesses that led to the crisis. For [corrupt right-wing asshole] Democrats from states that Donald Trump won in 2016, it's a chance to show voters they can work with Republicans and help their local economies. Trump administration officials have been supportive of the Senate legislation."
The infighting isn't expected to take down the bill, which probably has enough support to escape a filibuster, thanks to the 11 Democrats co-sponsoring the legislation. House Republicans, who have proposed more dramatic rollbacks, might pose a bigger hurdle. But the Senate floor debate could have repercussions in this year's elections and beyond, as Democrats try to convince voters they can effectively oversee the economy.

Democrats who oppose the legislation are emboldened by the expectation that most of their caucus will be on their side.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is leading efforts to undermine the bill as the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, said his party is "overwhelmingly against it."

"I've talked to damn near everybody about this," he said.

Brown says the bill's backers are overselling its benefits to the smallest lenders and that easing rules for larger banks would threaten the economy.

The legislation is muddying Democrats' message as they try to take back power in Washington, he said.

"The public doesn't want us to lay down for the banks," he said. "The public doesn't have collective amnesia about what happened 10 years ago like senators do."

...Warren, who is expected to easily win reelection this year and is seen as another 2020 presidential contender, may have more of a free hand in the debate to antagonize banks and the Democrats who back the bill.

She said the issue is "whether or not senators are on the side of protecting the economy and taxpayers or on the side of giant banks."

"Remember Countrywide?" she said, referring to the mortgage lender that became synonymous with the crisis. "It was about $200 billion, which is smaller than some of the banks that will be deregulated by this bill. The heart of this bill is to take 30 of the 40 biggest banks in this country off the watch-list so that they can load up on risks again and if things go wrong put the American taxpayer back on the hook."

Brown and Warren are backed by outside activists that are mobilizing to stop the bill from getting traction. They're trying to make it politically painful for Democrats to stand up for it.

Indivisible, an increasingly influential liberal advocacy group that formed as part of the resistance to Trump's election, has published a detailed script outlining how to rebut the bill in calls with Senate staffers.

Indivisible is also calling on its supporters to confront senators about the legislation during the upcoming congressional recess. In sample town hall questions, it suggests that voters ask Democratic senators whether they will commit to opposing "this Republican down payment on ending regulation of Wall Street."

Another progressive group, Demand Progress, has launched a social media campaign through its Rootstrikers arm identifying the bill's Democratic co-sponsors as the "#BailoutCaucus."

Public Citizen, the nonprofit consumer watchdog, has been making its case against the bill on the Hill and by coordinating with allies in the states of Democrats who have co-sponsored the bill.

"We're making it clear that there will be political consequences for being on the wrong side of this bill," Demand Progress campaign director Kurt Walters said. "We and others will then ramp up pressure on potential swing votes as necessary."

Crapo says he hopes the Senate will take up the bill shortly after lawmakers return after Presidents Day.

For the bill's supporters, the focus is on maintaining the core group that has helped make it one of the only successful examples of bipartisan compromise during this Congress.

"We have enough votes right now to pass it," Heitkamp said. "I know there are people who would like to see 70-75 votes. Maybe we can't get there, but we'll continue to have the discussion."

"Why is it a bad bill? Why is it dangerous?" Tester said in an interview, when asked about the opposition to the proposal. "We give relief to community banks. This should have been done years ago... This is going to allow for access to capital in rural areas like Montana," he said. "I don't get it."

The problem with winning over more Democrats is that there is little room to negotiate among the coalition of supporters when it comes to making changes that newcomers might seek. That's why the biggest threat to the bill's passage is the House, where Republicans want to do much more to dismantle Dodd-Frank. For now, it's unclear what they will try to add to the bill and whether Senate Democrats would go along with it.

"There is a rule, and this goes to working with the House as well: You don't get to amend this thing unless we all agree," Heitkamp said.
You can bet yer britches that top Wall Street whore Chuck Schumer isn't leaning on any of the Bailout Caucus to maintain party solidarity on this one. Schumer, after all, has taken more cash from Wall Street than any non-presidential politician in history-- $26,735,303 at last count, compared to "just" $12,276,007 for McConnell and a measly $11,909,105 for Speaker Ryan. Schumer wants to be seen by voters as being on the side on the people against the banksters... while delivering for the banksters-- who have financed his rise to power-- when it really counts.

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At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DINO-Whigs: Trying to be among the best corrupt elected officials corporatist money can buy. Still want to retake this cell pool from within? The stench takes a long time to dissipate!

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the listed democraps don't scrape the surface. Start with Pelosi, scummer, hoyer, Crowley and several more... THEN get to the list... THEN keep naming them in order of tenure. When you get to Jayapal, you can probably stop. Not until then.

A democrap doesn't need to take 8 figures from banking directly. It counts if they take 8 figures from Pelosi's "down on all 4s time" with the bankers.

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