The architect of sweeping legislation that would revamp financial regulation took the Senate floor on Wednesday to accuse the Senate Republican leader of lying about the bill and being in Wall Street's back pocket.My stars and garters, is that the word "lying" I see a Republican being accused of in an American newspaper? Does Mitch have his Fainting Couch and Pearl-Clutching Kit available?
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Ct., delivered a blistering 20-minute speech that included the revelation of a political talking points memo from a Republican strategist that was virtually verbatim to the criticism voiced Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.Nice to see ol' Chris find his spinal column, practically pregnant with fortitude no less. Even better to see a reporter actually point out that Dodd has indeed spent a year plus on this bill, and that the Republicans have walked away from the table. Gosh, why does that strategy sound familiar?
McConnell had accused Dodd of drafting partisan legislation, even though the Banking Committee chairman has worked for roughly half a year with key Senate Republicans and incorporated many of their ideas into his bill. McConnell also said the bill continues controversial bank bailouts, which it does not.
"It's a naked political strategy," thundered a visibly upset Dodd. He held up a leaked memo attributed to GOP strategist Frank Luntz that advises Republican lawmakers to accuse Dodd and other Democrats of perpetuating bailouts for giant banks.
"Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill as drafted ends bailouts," Dodd said, describing how regulators would get new powers to dissolve large financial institutions, even healthy ones if their size is deemed to threaten the broader financial system.
Additionally, the Dodd bill would require large institutions to present a plan for how to liquidate their company if necessary.
It's the same playbook as HCR. Republicans delay and delay, trying to weaken the bill, then declare it horribly broken and partisan and they no longer want any part of it, daring the Democrats to try to pass the legislation.
Only this time, the GOP is going to learn that siding with the banks is less popular than siding against health care reform, and the Dems think they have a winning issue here. They do.
Senate Democrats, guided by the White House, wasted little time responding to Republican opposition to their financial regulatory reform proposal. A day after GOP came out swinging against a bill authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, Democrats had a simple message for the minority: your time is running out. This touches off a game of chicken over the first big issue Congress will address after health care reform. And the question of whether the two parties can reach agreement over a growing number of disagreements remains in serious doubt.Good. Much, much more of this please, Democrats. This is an issue that has even better support than health care reform. Make the Republicans side with the banks. Even better, let's take to heart the lesson here: there's no such thing as a "good faith negotiation" with a Republican. In the end, they will try to defeat any legislation that Obama can claim victory on. By all means, let the GOP side with the banks wanting to go to the Supreme Court in order to hide the details of their $2 trillion bailout.
This morning, Dodd took the the Senate floor to sound the warning to the GOP. "My patience is running out," he bellowed after issuing a withering critique of Republican leaders for grounding their opposition to his reform bill in a political strategy memo authored by conservative strategist Frank Luntz. Dodd has been negotiating with his counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), but those talks may not last much longer.