This past week the Senate passed a bank deregulation bill. This comes under the heading of why are they wasting our time on this crap in my book.
The Sixteen Weenies are:
Hassan, New Hampshire
Heitkamp, North Dakota
Manchin, West Virginia
Shaheen, New Hampshire
The bill â€” one of the few important bipartisan pieces of legislation to move through Congress â€” would peel back key parts of Dodd-Frank, the 2010 law that was one of former President Barack Obama’s signature achievements, while leaving most of its regulations intact.
It has several elements aimed at scaling back lending rules. They include: relaxed mortgage regulations for small banks; broad exemptions from oversight for regional banks with up to $250 billion in assets; a mandate that the Federal Reserve tailor its rules for big banks; and easier capital and liquidity requirements for a number of the nation’s largest lenders.
The bill includes a handful of consumer protections, such as a requirement that credit reporting companies like Equifax provide free credit monitoring to members of the military â€” a proposal that has alarmed conservatives who warn that it would expose the firms to lawsuits.
Democrats who helped draft the bill argue that the legislation is an overdue recalibration of Dodd-Frank that would help make it easier for small and midsize banks to provide credit, particularly in rural areas.
Well, that sounds benign. But let’s hear from the other side.
Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who worked with the Obama administration on banking industry oversight after the 2008 crash, pledged to fight the bill, even if she faced long odds.
â€œThereâ€™s Democratic and Republican support because the lobbyists have been pushing since the first day Dodd-Frank passed to weaken the regulations on these giant banks,â€ she said during a morning press conference.
Ironically, I recently found an article on Democratic Senators Most Likely to Lose to a Republican in November. There are five Democrats up for re-election who are currently behind in polls against either their general election opponent or Generic Republic. All five of them are on the list above. Behind in polls:Â Tester, Montana; Manchin, West Virginia; McCaskill, Missouri; Donnelly, Indiana; and Heitkamp, North Dakota. Stabenow is slightly ahead in a squeaker.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Voting to weaken Dodd-Frank is terrible politics. Ross Barkan writes at The Guardian:
This week, it became clear again Democrats have not truly internalized 2016. Democrats in the Senate joined the Republican majority to vote in favour of gutting key banking regulations passed in the wake of the 2008 crash, leaving dissenters like Elizabeth Warren toÂ howl into the wind.
Beyond the immorality of the votes, they represented poor politics â€“ a concession to the banking lobby in exchange for further distance from the beating heart of the party.
â€œI hope that our bipartisan work can rub off on the rest of Congress so we can break through the partisan gridlock that has plagued Washington for too long,â€ said Jon Tester, one of the moderate Democrats who worked on the legislation. …
… Itâ€™s worth considering when bipartisanship can still exist in this deeply polarizing moment. It cannot live where there is a growing national consensus, as over the severity of climate change or the scourge of mass shootings.
It cannot live in any kind of economic matter that benefits the working class or the poor, even after Donald Trump managed to shred rightwing economic orthodoxies on his way to the presidency â€“ never mind that heâ€™s governing like a Koch brothers pawn.
Democrats and Republicans can only come together to feather the nests of the rich and powerful. Weakening Dodd-Frank confirms the worst suspicions of any cynical voter â€“ that the political class really is colluding to screw them over.
What Tester doesnâ€™t understand is that this â€œbipartisan workâ€ will not â€œrub offâ€ on Congress. This bill only exists because the largest funders of the Democratic party want it to exist. Big donors on the Republican side will kill efforts to ban assault weapons, fix our healthcare system or end our reliance on fossil fuels.
There is only bipartisanship when the rich demand it. Where no demand exists, the war commences. And make no mistake, 21st-century American politics is war.
I realize there’s an argument that more conservative states will only elect conservative Democrats. The problem is that this assumes the most palatable challenger to a hard-core conservative is a “centrist” conservative. But, seriously, there’s no center any more. Voters who don’t want the crazy right-wing asshole Republican to win are not looking for a candidate who is a watered-down crazy right-wing asshole. They want something that’s clearly different.
Here in Missouri, I never hear liberals gush about how much they like Claire McCaskill. People shuffled off to the polls and voted for her six years ago to keep the misogynist creep the Republicans nominated out of office. But there’s no real enthusiasm. To win in a state like this, Democrats have to whip up enthusiasm among not-crazy voters who are not Democratic loyalists, and I don’t see them doing that. McCaskill does have a primary opponent, but I didn’t know that until I looked it up. So far, there’s no primary campaign.
The one thing McCaskill has had going for her is the Missouri Republican Party, which is pretty much a clown act. But her current Republican opponent, state attorney general Josh Hawley, hasn’t yet said anything stupid about “legitimate rape” and, interestingly, is keeping some distance between himself and the Republican establishment in Washington, including Mitch McConnell. If he runs a smart race he’ll probably beat McCaskill pretty easily. (Although, so far, he hasn’t been running much at all. But it’s early yet.)Â The only thing that might help her is if Trump is seriously tanking in the Fall and Hawley is put on the spot to support Trump or not. Or, if Hawley were to lose to his primary opponent,Â Courtland Sykes, McCaskill will enjoy six more years in Washington. Sykes is a one-man carnival sideshow even by Missouri standards.