04.27.2010 0

The Financial Takeover Charade Continues

By Adam Bitely

UPDATE: For the second day in a row, a bi-partisan coalition has stopped the Dodd Financial Takeover Bill from progressing in the Senate. The vote was 57-41, with everyone voting exactly as they did yesterday.

Last night, a bi-partisan coalition successfully voted to stop one of Obama’s chief priorities–one of the rare times an Obama initiative has failed a vote. But will the stand against the Chris Dodd Financial Takeover Bill last? We are now in day two of the Financial Takeover Bill vote-a-thon in the U.S. Senate, and there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, the language Obama is employing after the first failed vote shows what this is really all about–bash Republicans as being weak on reform and allies of big banks that are anti-Main Street. Here is Obama’s official statement on last night’s vote:

“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin. Some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether. But the American people can’t afford that. A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees, and helped cause the pain that has left millions of Americans without jobs and without homes. The reform that both parties have been working on for a year would prevent a crisis like this from happening again, and I urge the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party.”

Obama first points out his disappointment in Republicans voting in a block; however, what he really means is that he is disappointed that Democrats did not stay together. With Ben Nelson, the Democrat from Nebraska, breaking ranks and sticking with Warren Buffett, Democrats face a challenge in raking the votes together for final passage. The vote against the takeover was the only bipartisan effort in the Senate yesterday.

Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, is attempting to forge a compromise with Chris Dodd, the author of the legislation. However, both Shelby staffers and Dodd staff have not met to nail down the specific language for the changes. Compromise seems to be an afterthought with both parties at the moment. The question is, who in the Senate is truly serious about stopping this legislation?

Obama blames Republicans for attempting to keep the discussion behind closed doors, but that is far from the truth. In all honesty, the public has had little time to learn about this bill, and the delays in the legislation continue to keep bad legislation from being forced down our throats—as always seem to be the case with Reid and Obama.

The strategy being employed by Obama is to keep Republicans in the news as anti-reformist, cast as charlatans that bow to the will of fat cat bankers on Wall Street—forgetting that Wall Street overwhelmingly favors Democrats with their political donations. While Republicans will most likely cave and approve a bill that is mildly different from the current monstrosity, the Obama lies must be exposed for what they are. The messaging coming from the White House is nothing more than “Republicans are obstructionists” and “if you are not with us, you are anti-reform” while ignoring bi-partisan support against the bill and the fact that this bill will only serve as a continual pay-out to the fat cat bankers that the Obama Administration is supposedly against.

The next vote on the legislation, a vote to begin floor debate that failed yesterday, is expected at 4:30 pm Eastern. We will have updates as the process continues.

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