Obama address set to ramp up financial reform battle
President Obama will speak in New York Thursday, calling for 'swift Senate action' on a financial reform bill that would aim to curb Wall Street excesses. He'll need at least one GOP vote.
(Page 2 of 2)
Democrats argue just the opposite – that the $50 billion fund (created with money from the banks themselves) would allow for orderly dissolution of troubled firms, and that the Senate bill overall would set up new regulatory practices to prevent the kind of meltdown that brought the US economy to the brink of collapse.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
With November midterms less than seven months away, the political stakes are high. Obama and the Democrats are trying to build on the momentum they gained from passing health-care reform, and the Republicans are trying to stop this momentum.
But if the bill passes, Republicans can at least add to their argument that the Obama adminstration is all about federal intrusion into the private sector – following passage of a health-care law that includes an individual mandate to purchase insurance and heightened government regulation of the health insurance industry.
Still, full-on opposition to Obama’s financial reform could be risky for the Republicans. Polls show public leeriness of the financial industry is high, and so being seen as opposed to reining it in could create an image of a GOP as a protector of big, rapacious banks.
A bipartisan bill or not?
As with health-care reform, Senator McConnell and the Republicans argue the Democrats should ditch the current version of reform and work with them on a more bipartisan solution.
“Bob Corker and I have been working at this for a year,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia on CNN Sunday. “I know Judd Gregg and Jack Reed have been working on it. There’s a lot of bipartisan action here. This should not be a partisan bill. My hope is we can get a bill that will get 75 votes.”
Senator Gregg is a Republican from New Hampshire who is retiring at the end of this year, leading some analysts to suggest that he might be willing to buck a filibuster and allow a floor vote. Senator Reed is a Democrat from Rhode Island.
On Sunday, Senator Brown told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he would filibuster the bill as it is currently written. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said he too opposes the bill, but felt a deal could be worked out.