According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — recently seen sobbing and weeping on the Senate floor because his long-time aide Kyle Simmons got a new job — the Senate financial regulation bill means “endless taxpayer-funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks.” As Ezra Klein writes, McConnell was “knowingly or not, taking aim at a policy that had been jointly developed by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) (pictured above) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).” Not surprisingly, that didn’t make Mark Warner particularly happy.
…”It appears that the Republican leader either doesn’t understand or chooses not to understand the basic underlying premise of what this bill puts in place.”
“Again,” says Warner, “it’s either that they don’t understand or they choose not to understand. There’s nobody in the financial sector who believes this. They’d laugh at the proposition that $50 billion is enough to get you through the resolution process if a couple of firms go down. What we’ve heard time and again is that the challenge in a crisis is to buy enough time to keep the lights on for a few days till you get the FDIC in here. You could make it smaller. Corker and I spoke about $25 billion. But this is funded by the industry.”
“And here’s the hypocrisy of the Republican leader’s comments,” continues Warner. “I can guarantee you that if there had not been some pre-funding, the critique would’ve been: ‘Look at these guys! They’ve left the taxpayers exposed! What’s going to keep the lights on for these few days? It’s going to be Treasury funds or Federal Reserve funds. The taxpayer will be exposed!’ ”
“If you haven’t spent time with these issues,” Warner sighed, “it’s easy to pop off with sound-bite solutions that don’t work.”
It’s frustrating, but this is how Republicans are on practically every issue these days. Just like when they attack, without any apparent shame, their own ideas – “cap and trade” (came out of the Reagan Administration), the “individual mandate” (Republican alternative to the “employer mandate”), for instance. Now, they’re attacking financial reform developed by a centrist Democrat (Mark Warner) and a Republican (Bob Corker)? It’s utterly bizarre, except when you realize that they’ll say anything in order to win the next election. That’s all it comes down to with these people, unfortunately, and it’s very sad to see. Anyway, I’m glad to see Mark Warner hitting back and pointing out Mitch McConnell’s utter “hypocrisy” and “sound-bite solutions.” I’m also glad to see Warner working on solving the problem, “in the arena,” as opposed to sniping from the back benches…
UPDATE: Sen. Warner sets the record straight.