House Republicans have joined their Senate colleagues in just saying no to financial reform. Using their best Frank Luntz parroting to date, Republicans are declaring that the reform effort "institutionalizes... taxpayer-funded bailouts of Wall Street banks."
McConnell's solution, as Simon Johnson writes is a dangerous laissez faire approach, "not to break up big banks; it’s to change nothing now and simply promise to let them fail in the future."
Dems are hitting back, hard. Mark Warner, hardly a firebrand, tells Ezra "It appears that the Republican leader either doesn't understand or chooses not to understand the basic underlying premise of what this bill puts in place.... If you haven't spent time with these issues," Warner sighed, "it's easy to pop off with sound-bite solutions that don't work."
Dodd is threatening to cut them out of negotiations.
“My patience is running out,” Dodd said on the Senate floor. “I’ve extended the hand. I’ve written provisions in this bill to accommodate various interests. But I’m not going to continue doing this if all I’m getting the other side is a suggestion somehow that this is a partisan effort.”
As President Barack Obama hosted a bipartisan meeting at the White House on the legislation, Dodd lashed out at Republicans for characterizing the bill as perpetuating endless taxpayer bailouts of failing financial firms. He said critics of the bill are spreading “outright falsehoods” that are “now being repeated by people who should know better and frankly do know better.”
The White House piles on at the White House Blog.
The reality is that there’s a clear choice in this debate: to stand with American families or stand on the side of the big Wall Street banks and their lobbyists who are defending the status quo. Opponents of reform are protecting the big banks at the expense of American families -- so they’re going to do whatever they can to keep the present system in place and leave the American taxpayer with the bill.
One false criticism we’re hearing is this: that the Senate bill will allow endless taxpayer-funded bailouts of financial firms. What they won’t tell you is that they are taking their marching orders from a partisan political consultant who has told them that the best way to oppose real reform is to link it to the bank bailouts. In fact, the polling memo they’re working from explicitly states that “the best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.” No matter what the bill actually does, they’re going to call it a bailout because that’s what the polls tell them to do.
And DSCC chair Menendez is daring them to oppose it.
"If that's what they want, I think they'll face the wrath of the electorate in the process," Menendez told reporters at the Capitol in response to Republican criticisms of the bill.
An in an interview with Greg Sargent, DCCC chief Chris Van Hollen said that the Dems are going on offense, with the intent to show the Republicans in bed with the banksters.
Dems are seizing on a report in this morning’s Wall Street Journal saying the biggest banks have been trying to dilute the reform legislation by lobbying against restrictions to the hugely lucrative derivatives trading business. The White House and Dems, resisting this push, are moving to squeeze this type of trading....
“The issue is, who pays when banks make a bad decision — the banks or the taxyapers?” Van Hollen continued. “Republicans want the taxpayers on the hook. They support business as usual on Wall Street, which means having taxpayers bail out the banks, rather than holding the banks accountable for their own mistakes.”
It's the right fight to make now, if Dodd and Obama are willing to follow through and really force Republicans to make that tough choice--vote for the banksters or for the people. Hopefully they'll have learned from the lesson of health insurance reform that attempting to find common ground with Republicans is a one-way street, and that they should welcome Republican opposition. It makes it that much easier to paint them into a corner of being willing to let the banks off the hook for the current economic disaster.