Reasons to vote no on Wall Street reform don’t hold up

Wall Street reform looks to be in as much trouble as the energy bill. Though the bill was passed out of conference, it’s actually now losing votes on the Senate floor despite the addition of Maria Cantwell. Robert Byrd’s death is one and Repub Scott Brown is two, and four others are threatening to walk.The original vote was 59-39 with Specter and Byrd not voting. Factor them in, and we can only afford to lose two votes after gaining Cantwell's. If Russ Feingold continues to filibuster, then we need all four of the remaining waverers lest the 2007-8 status quo stands and Wall Street brings down the economy again.

Brown is opposing the bill and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and the Maine twins are threatening to oppose it because of a $17.9 billion fee on big banks from the House version. Democrat Evan Bayh has also grown wishy-washy.

This is ridiculous. Big financial firms and banks have caused trillions of dollars worth of damage to this country - $700 in TARP funds, $787 billion in the stimulus, two consecutive quarters of 6% decline in US GDP, 10% unemployment – yet Repubs would risk it happening all over again rather than tax these crooks a paltry $18 billion? Puh-leaze! It's even more hypocritical when one considers the anti-bailout bleating of most of these Repubs. Here’s our chance for another Main Street bailout, and yet just as with the stimulus and unemployment extension, they’re saying no. Any good will Brown generated by introducing Elena Kagan to the Judiciary Committee yesterday is gone now.

Dodd and Franks have made some small changes to address these petty concerns, but that won't solve all the bill's political woes - and not just because Brown is still playing coy. Democratic Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin is also planning to vote against the legislation, as he did before conference. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) also voted against it in May, but her concerns about derivatives seem to have been addressed. Feingold, however, is almost taking the position that unless we end too-big-to-fail (and it is too bad that the bill doesn't), then we should leave the current system in place exactly as it its.

I truly admire Feingold and am happy to fundraise for his re-election campaign, but I think he's making a terrible mistake here. If the bill’s strength is already losing it votes, holding out for something better will lose even more. Give Feingold what he wants and not only do the four Republicans firm up their opposition, perhaps we lose not only Bayh but Ben Nelson as well, who voted against an initial procedural motion. That takes us from a possible 61 and passage to a ceiling of 56-57 and failure.

It made sense to filibuster in May when there was still a chance to strengthen the bill, but we’re in the end game now. Either we pass this bill or one very close to it, or we don’t pass a bill at all. This wasn’t the case before conference when the August recess was still far away, but it is the case now. If Feingold and others want to register discontent, they should vote for cloture and against the bill, but a vote against cloture is a vote for Jamie Dimon and a vote for the 2007-8 status quo.

Tags: Russ Feingold, Maria Cantwell, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Grassley, Evan Bayh, bailouts, Wall Street reform, financial crisis, Wall Street reform, financial crisis (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

"a vote for Jamie Dimon"

The Jamie Dimon that is Obama's favorite bankster?  The runner-up for Secretary of Treasury?

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-06-30 02:53PM | 0 recs
RE: "a vote for Jamie Dimon"

A big reason why this bill isn't better. Obama and Geithner should have pushed to end too-big-to-fail - but they didn't and we are where we are now.

Do you read the Baseline Scenario? Simon Johnson's blog. My dad pointed me to it as a good source of economic analysis, so it's where I've gotten a lot of my news. Their heroes through this process where Volker, Kaufman, and Sh. Brown. Their big thing now is pimping Krugman for OMB.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-06-30 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold

I'm pretty sure that Feingold believes that we get one bite at this apple and it better be a good enough bite - and this one isn't.

IMO, this is one of the lessons from the too-small stimulus. You don't get a second chance at everything, and if you settle for something that doesn't fix the core problems, thent he core problems don't get fixed.

by jeopardy 2010-06-30 04:47PM | 0 recs
That argument works both ways

What he is upset isn't in the bill got a vote and went down badly. Now he should defend why he believes doing nothing is a better option, because we don't get to try again next week or next year.

by DTOzone 2010-06-30 06:42PM | 0 recs
RE: That argument works both ways

I think you are missing the point.

It completely saps the potential energy of getting done what is needed when you settle for partial measures (that don't do the job).

Something getting voted down is not the end of it; rather, it can be the beggining.

You take that vote and you hang it around the offending pols' necks and you keep pointing at it day after day after day. Every time somebody gets on tv, they mention that nelson voted in favor of the banks and against Americans. Every time you speak to a newspaper journalist you say the same thing. Every time the left writes a blog, it mentions the traitors to the American people.

It's the PERFECT time to campaign hard for it. The GOP and conservadems just gave the middle finger to mainstreet and licked the boots of Goldman Sachs. Now's the time to fight hard.

by jeopardy 2010-06-30 06:56PM | 0 recs
RE: That argument works both ways

I would have agreed with that in May, when Feingold first filibustered. But with the August recess looming and at least two other huge items trying to get on the agenda (energy and immigration), there's no time for this to just be the beginning. Had this been voted down in May, or last year, than yes, voting it down wouldn't have been the end of it. But with the August recess, the fall campaign, and a smaller majority looming, we are out of time.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-06-30 07:49PM | 0 recs
We can't just campaign on everything

every time the Republicans hold something up because eventually the public is going to come to us and say
"So, what? You can't get ANYTHING done?"

Because I guarantee you, even if we do that, we might keep winning, we'll still never get 60. There's at least 40%-45% of the country that will continue to vote with them anyway.

You have to get something done...something that will at least tangibly build on your agenda. You cannot say this bill will do nothing, even Feingold doesn't say that, but if you're holding out for perfection, you're never gonna get it. The people aren't going to vote for a party that keeps blaming the other side for not getting anything done. The Republicans know that, that's why they're doing this. On top of that, what Feingold wanted didn't even have the support of 1/3 of the Senate!

But that's not the point either...Feingold is free to vote no. I have no problem with him doing that. What he is wrong for doing is filibustering. At least he's wrong if we want to eventually kill the filibuster. He is endorsing the Republican abuse of the filibuster by doing this. I want the filibuster gone and Feingold in standing in the way. You know how you felt about Lincoln and Lieberman with HCR or Nelson with the jobs bill? That's how I feel about Feingold concerning filibuster abuse.

by DTOzone 2010-06-30 09:02PM | 0 recs
RE: We can't just campaign on everything

You cannot say this bill will do nothing, even Feingold doesn't say that, but if you're holding out for perfection, you're never gonna get it.

 

Nice straw men there, but I never said those things, and that's not my stance. 

What I want, and what the country needs, is to fix the damn problem. I don't think we are going to have a better time than now to do this, and is has to be done. Passing a half-measure that doesn't actualy fix the main problems is a bad idea, even if it makes smaller positive changes, because it kills the chance we have right now.

Further, there's probably no better issue than this to hold out on and put the pressure on the corrupt SOB's who just want to further line the pockets of the ultra-rich bankers at the expense of the rest of us. If there exists ANY issue where the preident could rally the American people to the cause, this is it. And the precedent it could set could be extremely valuable for the rest of president Obama's term(s) in office.

by jeopardy 2010-06-30 10:46PM | 0 recs
RE: We can't just campaign on everything

"because it kills the chance we have right now."

There's the fundamental disagreement - you still think we DO have the chance right now to end TBTF. I don't, and it seems DTOZone doesn't. There's not enough time to re-write the bill, and Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, and the GOP don't care what the President pressues people to do - not that he seems to want a tougher bill anyway (dissapointingly so.)

by Nathan Empsall 2010-06-30 11:32PM | 0 recs
RE: We can't just campaign on everything

I suppose that is the difference.

 

One reason (perhaps the main reason) I wroked so hard to help Obama get elected was because I thought he could be pull a Reagan and actually move public opinion. He has the rhetorical skills, and I still think he can lead instead of following Congress (the GOP and BLue dogs, actually).

Again, if there's EVER a time to pick a fight with the GOP it's on this issue. This is where you use the American people's outrage and the GOP's corrupt protection of Wall St. to break the GOP. If you don't do it now, you don't do it.

During the campaign, Obama praised Reagan for moving the public's views on issues (the wrong way, of course). Obama has the ability to do that. My greatest dissapointment is that instead of doing the same but to the left and for responsibility and for the little guy, Obama placates the GOP and even takes on many of their own talking points, legitimizing them.

 

by jeopardy 2010-07-01 12:39PM | 0 recs
RE: We can't just campaign on everything

This comment is the closest we've come to agreement here. The thing is, while Obama may have Reagan's oratorical skills, he doesn't have his charm but he does have talk radio, cable news, and right-wing blogs, all forms of fast-track opposition Reagan didn't have to contend with.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-01 01:10PM | 0 recs
I can see how you would see that

but I honestly think Obama is the wrong guy to move public opinion...for two reasons.

1.) He's black- that alone makes a lot of people who should be reachable completely irrational

2.) He's a Democrat- Reagan had success with Democrats because Democratic voters tend to be open to other ideas. Republicans are closed minded and shallow. Obama can't change their views, no one can, because they can't admit when they're wrong, they're incapable of it. They'll die before they change their views.

by DTOzone 2010-07-01 08:55PM | 0 recs
We don't have a chance right now

The votes aren't there. We tried and put it up to a vote and it failed. Unless you think we can flip 27 Senate votes before November, we're going to have to deal with the fact that is the best we can do and it's not bad.

by DTOzone 2010-07-01 08:15AM | 0 recs
RE: We don't have a chance right now

"The votes aren't there". But that doesn't mean they wouldn't be there if Obama fought hard for them and rallied the American people.

During HCR, we constantly heard "the votes aren't there". At the end, Obama brought pessure on the left-side of Congress, and it worked.

I just want him to do that to the right.

But I find saying "the votes aren't there" to be missign the point entirely. Of course they aren't there when there's no pressure being put on them to be there.

by jeopardy 2010-07-01 12:42PM | 0 recs
RE: We don't have a chance right now

Obama found the votes when we still had 60 Democratic Senators. Now we have 58. Remember, the Senate didn't vote post-conference except for the small reconciliation package of "fixes," a tactic that can't apply to all situations. Also, the timing was different. We could spend months and months on health care. Well, we've already spent months on Wall Street reform - years, even - and now we've got a month left to get real work done, and I for one think it's more important to pass a decent finregs bill and a decent climate bill than to pass a good finregs bill and no climate bill. The climate faces a tipping point and we can't afford to delay; we have GOT to get to that item on the agenda.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-01 01:08PM | 0 recs
i don't believe there's anything he can do

to get the votes himself. More than 40 Senators take pride in opposing him. Left wing Senators/Congressmen don't (he's still popular in their states/districts)

I know Anthony Weiner pretty well and behin the scenes, the guy raked the administration over HCR, but even he admitted that almost none of his constituents were behind him, they either wanted him to vote no because the liberal Muslim President wants to socailize us (Yeah, there are a lot of teabaggers in Brooklyn believe it or not) or were mad he was giving Obama a hard time and fighting for what he said they described as "a lost cause"

Obama can pressure the left, because he still has their districts. He has no influence over people like Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson, in whose states Obama was NEVER popular...and Lieberman doesn't care at all.

I really honestly don't believe no matter how hard Obama fights for X, Y, and Z, he can change any votes on it. Too many in Congress just want to oppose him. Clinton and Carter had the same problem. In fact, so did LBJ. I can't think of one Senator whom he successfully armed twisted from the right. I can think of a couple he pressured from the left though...Ted Greene is the best example.

Now if you want Obama to fight for something he's gonna lose on just to get the message out there, that's a different story. i think he's sorta doing that with immigration. there is no way immigration reform will pass Congress this year, no way...but he's making it clear it's an issue he cares about.

by DTOzone 2010-07-01 08:51PM | 0 recs

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