As early as today, the U.S. Senate will be voting on something called the “Merkley-Levin amendment” (see here for a fact sheet). As the Coffee Party writes, “This critical amendment would ensure that Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs don’t get a government guarantee when they make huge, risky bets in the markets, and it would stop banks from engaging in Goldman-Sachs-style bets against their own clients.”
Essentially, Merkley-Levin expands and codifies the Volcker rule, by banning financial institutions which borrow using the Federal Reserve’s discount window from using those funds for proprietary trading (aka “in-house hedge funds”). In addition, it addresses the conflict of interest between securities underwriters and in-house traders, getting at the heart of SEC and DOJ accusations against Goldman Sachs.
Predictably, Wall Street has lobbyists swarming over Capitol Hill trying to kill this amendment, leaving the pro-reform people badly outgunned. That’s why it’s important you call Sen. Warner’s office today, at 202-224-2023, and request that he vote “yes” on Merkley-Levin. As you can see from this whip count, Jim Webb supports the Merkley-Levin amendment, but Mark Warner is (unfortunately) “leaning no.” Let’s see what we can do to move Warner from “leaning no” to “leaning yes” today. Thanks.