Bennet Deservedly Takes Heat Over Banking Bill

Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports, sometimes you’ve just got to shake your head and wonder:

A bill that would weaken oversight of the banking industry is up for debate this week in the U.S. Senate, where Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet’s support of the measure is drawing heat from its liberal opponents who warn the proposal could lead to a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

Bennet was one of more than a dozen Democrats who joined with the Republican majority on Tuesday to help the measure clear a procedural hurdle and set up a final vote in the coming days.

Its advance drew fire from Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who said the legislation was “all about helping big banks.”

The New York Times’ Mike Konczal sums up the dismay of liberal Democrats over the number of Democrats who joined with the GOP majority in the Senate to advance this legislation:

Why would some Democrats provide support for a rollback of Dodd-Frank? Proponents argue that this bill provides much needed relief for community banks and credit unions, which, these proponents claim, face enormous difficulties. They also say that it doesn’t endanger financial reforms aimed against the largest and most dangerous players.

But that view is mistaken: This bill goes far beyond the health of community banks and credit unions. It removes protections for 25 of the top 38 banks; weakens regulations on the biggest players and encourages them to manipulate regulations for their benefit; and saps consumer protections.

What do Democrats get in return? Nothing substantive that they should want. They could demand better funding for regulators or an appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — or a vote on gun control…

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was particularly vocal in her criticism of Democrats who voted for the bill:

Although Sen. Michael Bennet isn’t up for re-election for a number of years, it’s a problem to see him voting with Republicans once again on an issue for which his record has demonstrated a persistent blind spot. And it’s not just problematic for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s consumer watchdog allies. As a moderate Democratic Senator who has always tried to bring opposing sides to a compromise on issues like protections for finance-product consumers, Bennet is co-sponsoring legislation that overwhelmingly aggrieves one side. Either Bennet is unaware of the staunch opposition to the bill he’s sponsoring or he doesn’t care, and neither seems likely to ingratiate the side of this debate he should be trying to persuade.

And we’ll say it as nicely as we can: although Bennet has little to lose in the short term, collaborating with Republicans to weaken banking protections over the loud objections of a possible 2020 presidential candidate isn’t the way to rally base Democratic voters ahead of the 2018 elections. We would encourage, to the extent a course change for Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator is possible here, that it be considered.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    He's not blind.  Why do you think Anschutz loves him so much?  He fucked DPS over for the banks, now we're getting the same treatment.  It would have been foolish to expect any less.

    Oh, and that bill, just got fucking worse.

    Senate Claims to Fix Its Wall Street Bill, but a Look at the Text Says It’s Still a Giveaway

    There’s just one problem left: Almost nobody has any idea what the bill will ultimately look like. And they almost certainly won’t know until hours, or perhaps minutes, before they have to make a final decision.

    Senate Banking Committee chair Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and four Banking Committee Democrats filed several last-minute changes in what’s known as a manager’s amendment late Wednesday. That’s a bill that incorporates unknown changes to a piece of legislation that has already passed committee. To spot the changes, a reader must compare the language of both bills.

    “We’re up to four dozen bills that we’re expecting to be included in the final package,” Hensarling told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. Those could be tucked into a final manager’s amendment to the Senate bill, without much advance warning, and put on the floor before senators have had a chance to read or analyze it. “[Hensarling’s] going to get a bunch of bills he can crow about,” said one financial services lobbyist working on the bill.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Yup. I called and left a message. I expect the usual boilerplate email about how Senator Bennet cares about my concerns, bla bla. His 1.9 million in donations from the securities industry has to reap some benefits for them. It would be refreshingly honest of him to just say, "I was doing what my donors requested."

      • Pseudonymous says:

        1.9 million is just in the 2018 cycle (2013-2018).  If you look at his career salary, he's gotten paid $3.3 million by securities and investment folks, along with another 650k from miscellaneous finance companies– over twice that much.

  2. Duke Cox says:

    Mr. Bennet was given the nickname Thurston for a reason. He earned it.

    This vote is certainly no surprise to anyone I know.

  3. Contact Senator Bennet:

    Denver Metro Office
    1127 Sherman St., Suite 150
    Denver, CO 80203
    Phone: 303-455-7600
    Toll Free: 866-455-9866

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    Zap's going to hemorrhage over this vote and rightly so.

    What a dick vote by Bennet. 

  5. Duke Cox says:

    It has been nearly 24 hrs. since this diary was posted and I am still waiting for one of you Michael Bennet acolytes to present us with a dispassionate dissertation on why Thurston deserves a pass on the excoriation he so richly deserves for this cowardly vote.

    Just because he occasionally throws the left wing of the party a scrap, he is not to be forgiven for his part in handing the banks the whole platter. Michael Bennet will never turn his back on his financial benefactors.

    Thanks, Thurston, for helping the super wealthy put their collective boot heel on the public, so they can hold them down and steal their money. We know it will make this a better place for all of us…well, at least 1% of us.

    • Davie says:

      Not getting any argument from me.  I contacted his office yesterday via email outlining my objections to his bill and asking that he withdraw his support, or at least undo the relaxation of the "too big to fail" threshold.  I also requested a reply (although that is likely to just be a form letter).

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