A new appropriations bill was released Tuesday night, and amid the 1,600 pages of legislation was a provision that would repeal part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law which requires banks to separate their trades in financial derivatives from traditional bank accounts backed by the FDIC, The Hill reported.
This type of trading played a major part in the country’s economic meltdown in 2008, and the bill’s critics, namely Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), are fighting to have the provision removed to avoid another financial catastrophe.
“Who does Congress work for?” Warren asked in a speech on the Senate floor yesterday.
“If big companies deploy armies of lobbyists and lawyers to get the Congress deals to benefit themselves,” said the senator, “then we’ve simply confirmed the view of the American people that the system is rigged.”
The problem with the opposition to this bill is that if it is not passed, it could cause another government shutdown. If the legislation makes it through the House, it would take just one member of the Senate to hold it up.
Warren is likely that senator, and urged her House counterparts, particularly the Democratic representatives “whose votes are essential to moving this package forward, to withhold support for it until this risky giveaway is removed from the legislation.”
The Dodd-Frank provision isn’t the only troubling part of the bill; it also includes a dramatic increase on the caps for campaign contributions to party committees. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she was “deeply troubled” by these provisions and that “[we] must get them out of the omnibus package.”
The legislation, which was basically drafted by lobbyists for Citigroup, was “negotiated behind closed doors,” according to Warren, who said it would “let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money, and once again get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”
“This is a democracy,” said the freshman senator, “and the American people didn’t elect us to stand up for CitiGroup. They elected us to stand up for all the people.”
Watch Sen. Warren’s speech from the Senate floor yesterday.