Thursday, April 15, 2010

McConnell's New Phase Of Republican Obstructionism: Opposing Financial Reform

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY) has signaled the next phase of Republican obstructionism: killing financial reform. Just like with health reform, part of the GOP partisan plan is to accuse the Democrats of partisanship:

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, criticized the Democrats’ plans to regulate Wall Street as arrogant and partisan, echoing the recent health care fight in which he accused Democrats of carrying out a government takeover.

McConnell equates regulating the financial system with "endless taxpayer-funded bailouts"–a point refuted by Jen Psaki, White House deputy communications director, in a blog post:

Here are the facts: this bill does the exact opposite of what these critics say it does. The Senate bill explicitly mandates that a large financial firm that faces failure will be allowed to fail, and it explicitly prohibits the use of any funds to “bail out” a failing firm. Under the Senate bill, large financial firms facing insolvency in times of crisis will be shut down or broken apart. Management will be replaced. Creditors will suffer losses. Equity holders will be wiped out. And large financial firms, not taxpayers, will be required to bear the costs. Under the Senate bill, the taxpayers will never be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s irresponsibility.

McConnell actually supported a bank bailout–only not under President Obama:

At a news conference, Mr. McConnell acknowledged his own support for the $700 billion bailout in 2008 when the Bush administration warned of an imminent crisis. “That is not to say that we think it ever ought to be done again,” he said.

McConnell and National Senatorial Committee chairman Senator John Cornyn (TX) recently met with Wall Street executives to discuss killing financial reform and contributing to Republican campaigns. As reported by no less than Fox News:

As a financial reform bill starts to take shape in Washington, two key lawmakers came to New York City last week to explain what it means for Wall Street, and how financial executives might help prevent some of its least market-friendly aspects from becoming law by electing more Republicans, FOX Business Network has learned.

About 25 Wall Street executives, many of them hedge fund managers, sat down for a private meeting Thursday afternoon with two of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in Congress: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and John Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, one of the primary fundraising arms of the Republican Party.

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