Democrats Block GOP Measure To Delay Wall Street Reform

| by Edward Arnold

In a legislative fight testing the resolve of Democrats, the Republicans were unable to pass a bill that would have delayed a Wall Street reform known as the Volcker Rule.

Without the rule, bankers would be allowed to use taxpayer money to invest in risky securities markets, known as proprietary trading, notes the Huffington Post. The bill would have allowed this type of finance to occur for two years.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who continues to oppose any deregulation of the financial industry, was not happy the bill was filed in the House.

"One day into the new Congress, House Republicans are picking up right where they left off: trying to gut Wall Street reforms so that big banks can make more risky bets using taxpayer-backed money," she said. "This is yet another big bank giveaway that makes our economy and middle class families less safe."

Luckily for Democrats, the Republicans took this bill to vote in the wrong way. Assuming Democratic support, the Republicans filed the bill under special rules preventing it from being amended, which would require a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority.

When the bill was put to vote on Wednesday, the majority vote of 276 to 146 was not enough to meet the two-thirds threshold.

Only 35 Democrats voted for the measure, showing promise that more than 80 percent of the Democratic caucus still supports Wall Street reform.

House minority speaker Nanci Pelosi spoke on the Democratic victory.

"The American people expect Congress to champion the paychecks of middle class families, not the profits of big banks. Wall Street giveaways introduced in the dead of night are no way to govern," she said. "Democrats will continue to fight back against Republicans’ Wall Street wish list agenda."

Sen. Bernie Sanders chimed in with similar sentiments.

"Congress needs to stop too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks from gambling with taxpayer money, which is what the Volcker Rule is intended to do," Sanders told the Huffington Post. "It is time to break up these behemoth banks so that they cannot blow up the economy again. Enough is enough."

After the vote, the White House spokeswomen Jennifer Friedmann said Obama would have vetoed the bill.

"We are opposed to this legislation and pleased that it did not pass," Friedmann said. "Had the bill been presented to the President for his signature, he would have vetoed it. The President has been clear about his opposition to legislation that would weaken key consumer protections and provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act."

Going forward, House Republicans have a decision to make. Do they throw this bill away after a sweeping Democratic victory? Or do they put the bill to another vote, allowing amendments to possibly limit the freedom of deregulation they wanted to this bill to create?

In either case, the Democrats showed progress to unify not only with each other in Congress, but with the White House, which will be tested as the year moves forward.

Source: Huffington Post, (2) / Photo Credit: Nation of Change