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Carney writes: "It’s appropriations season again on Capitol Hill, and that means the halls of Congress are crowded with Wall Street lobbyists looking for regulatory relief in the form of legislative 'riders' attached to must-pass spending bills."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions witnesses during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions witnesses during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Mitigating Systemic Risk Through Wall Street Reforms," on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013. (photo: Drew Angerer/Getty)

Elizabeth Warren: 'Wall Street Lobbyists Are Swarming This Place'

By Eliza Newlin Carney, The American Prospect

26 May 16


Lobbyists are flocking to Capitol Hill, seeking to further weaken financial regulation through spending bill riders.

t’s appropriations season again on Capitol Hill, and that means the halls of Congress are crowded with Wall Street lobbyists looking for regulatory relief in the form of legislative “riders” attached to must-pass spending bills.

“Once again, it’s like ringing the dinner gong for the lobbyists,” declared Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “They are swarming this place. Because they have all kinds of goodies that they want to slip into the legislation.”

Financial services industry lobbyists aren’t the only ones pressing lawmakers to attach policy riders to the fiscal 2017 appropriations bills now under consideration on Capitol Hill. Riders promoted by corporate or conservative interests would weaken a broad range of worker safety, environmental and women’s health protections, say progressive activists who organized the May 18 call to urge Congress to pass a “clean” budget free from ideological riders.

But Wall Street interests historically have been among the most aggressive and successful in persuading Congress to deliver policy fixes favorable to their industry via spending bill riders — provisions that would invariably trigger public outcry if debated out in the open via the normal legislative process, but that stand a better chance when tacked onto spending bills in the dead of night.

The most obvious example is the rider attached to a spending bill in late 2014 that repealed a key provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed after the 2008 fiscal crisis. That rider tossed out the so-called swaps pushout provision of Dodd-Frank, which had required bank holding companies to sequester risky derivatives trades in segregated accounts to protect consumers from hazard.

Not all of Wall Street’s wish list has fared so well. Last year, lawmakers set out to attach hundreds of riders to omnibus spending legislation, including dozens aimed at rolling back financial services protections at the heart of Dodd-Frank. These included a GOP bid (ultimately thwarted) to remove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s independent funding stream, which is guaranteed through the Federal Reserve, and put congressional appropriators hostile to the agency in charge of the CFPB’s purse strings.

Another rider last year sought to block the CFPB from issuing a rule aimed at ending so-called forced arbitration, which requires consumers to waive their right to sue as a condition of doing business with a bank or other entity, or merely having a bank-issued credit card. That rider was ultimately defeated, and the CFPB has now proposed a rule to ban forced arbitration in class actions. But consumer advocates fully expect Republicans to introduce another rider this year aimed at blocking the CFPB’s forced arbitration curbs. A rider to cut off the agency’s independent funding is also expected to resurface.

Yet another hard-won consumer protection that GOP lawmakers are expected to try to undo with an appropriations rider is the Obama Labor Department’s recent “fiduciary duty” rule to protect consumers against retirement investment advice that may benefit the financial adviser at the expense of the consumer. The rule, which has been estimated to cost consumers $17 billion a year, requires such advisers to act in the best interests of the consumer.

“We will see numerous attempts to undermine financial reform,” predicts Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. There’s a key difference, though, between the riders that helped gut parts of the Dodd-Frank law in 2014, and the ones moving forward on Capitol Hill today. This time, consumer advocates are better organized, and are acting aggressively to bring the debate over riders friendly to Wall Street and other corporate and ideological interests out in the open.

“After the terrible lesson of the financial crisis, the least we can expect is that any proposals to weaken financial regulations be debated and voted on as stand-alone measures in an open process,” urged a May 17 letter to Capitol Hill authored by Americans for Financial Reform and signed by more than 200 labor, consumer, civil-rights, environmental and other progressive groups. “The budget is not the place to try to force through provisions that are dangerous to economic stability, would not pass alone, or that the president would likely veto.”

Another difference in this year’s appropriations process is that voter anger at Wall Street continues to mount, and has emerged as a major campaign theme in the presidential contest. Voters see a clear link between Wall Street financial contributions — which continue to be the largest source of funds to the high-dollar outside groups that now drive campaign spending — and the types of legislative favors that financial services lobbyists have set out to win through backdoor riders.

Some argue that the relationship between wealthy donors’ campaign spending and the special favors they win on Capitol Hill is tenuous at best. When it comes to Wall Street rules, however, the lobbyists now flocking to Capitol Hill are worlds apart from average voters, the vast majority of whom believe the financial industry needs more regulation, not less. That may make riders a riskier political bet.

“Our belief is that we’re going to succeed in beating this stuff back, because our side has become sharper at blowing the whistle on these efforts ahead of time,” says James Lardner, Americans for Financial Reform’s communications director. “And mostly because Wall Street is tremendously unpopular, and people who are perceived as doing its bidding don’t come off well with their constituents — Republican or Democratic.” your social media marketing partner


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It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

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+19 # REDPILLED 2016-05-26 09:48
With all due respect to Senator Warren for her efforts, reform is not enough.

The entire corrupt political-econo mic system, based on private greed and neoliberalism, the main tool of the 1% Parasite Class, is the MMIICC: the Military-Media- Industrial-Inte lligence-Congre ssional Complex.

Radical (to the root) change is needed; anything less will fail.

That's why a Movement Beyond Bernie must continue after the elections.
+8 # HowardMH 2016-05-26 11:57
The American Spring will start when there are thousands of really, really pissed off people at the Capital all at the same time raising some serious hell against the Lunatics, and idiots absolutely nothing is ever, ever going to happen to these totally bought and paid for by the richest 400 families in the world that are becoming more and more powerful with each passing rigged election thanks to the stupid people.

So, scream, yell, chant, stomp your feet, threaten to hold your breath, and beat your drums so the media can show it on the evening news, while all of those who can actually do anything about it are home counting their donation money and laughing all the way to the bank.
Yes there is still hope for the America we used to know, but I agree it is fading fast.
-10 # rocback 2016-05-26 21:44
"You say you want a revolution, well you know, you can count me out...
+2 # A_Har 2016-05-27 15:13
Quoting rocback:
"You say you want a revolution, well you know, you can count me out...

So you support the grift and fraud in the banking system that brought down the economy.
+1 # mudbike 2016-05-31 22:32
And don't think for a second if she makes promises to Bernie supporters, that crooked Hitlery would mkake good on them. No way. She has alreadyy ben bought by the International Corporate Empire to fuck all of us for them.. At least Trump mioght blunder into a couple of corect decisions. That's more than I can say for her. Unfortunately I cannot vote for rAcist, misogynist, xenophobic, pollution fan Trump either. I will vote for Bernie, whether or not he is on the ballot.
+6 # keenon the truth 2016-05-26 09:49
Hey folks, just made my second donation this month. I can't afford to do this very often. Any practical ideas about how to get everyone on board?
+2 # Bourbaki 2016-05-26 17:14
Thanks keenon, I opted for a small automatic monthly donation. This place is worth it to me.
+23 # lobdillj 2016-05-26 10:11
To get what the 99% need Glass-Steagall must be reinstated in all of its particulars. The top echelons of Wall Street, Exxon, and all other corporations funding Hillary are psychopaths working in concert to keep the 99% down under their thumbs. Capitol Hill is bought and paid for by the 1%. They don’t even read the bills the lobbyists write before rubber-stamping them. The entire system is corrupt, probably beyond redemption.

I love Elizabeth Warren, and maybe she can be the catalyst to initiate a cure, but unless the people are fiercely behind her there’s no chance at all.
+1 # Eliza D 2016-05-26 18:43
You are right,lobdillj, action by citizens is needed. We need people out like we were last weekend at Break Free from Fossil Fuels rallies around the country and world. (Didn't see any articles by RSN covering these massive rallies. Why?) Instead, people on this site are involved in ceaseless name-calling and vitriol and the RSN moderators publish this useless verbiage. Thank you MS. Warren for all you do for us. You have succeeded in doing what Marc Ash and Robert Reich could not; got me to reconsider voting for Clinton if Sanders does not get the nomination. I had forgotten how the Republicans never stop trying to end consumer protection laws. For that reason alone ,we cannot afford to have Trump.
+14 # danireland46 2016-05-26 10:27
Everyone knows the corruption that follows in the wake of the lobbyists, and yet those most affected, politicians seldom discourage it. There are a few - like Elizabeth Warren, who liken them to a swarm of locust.

It's way past time to get this kind of dirty money, with all it's obligatory quid pro quos, out of politics. If we ever really want clean politicians representing us, we the people, ought to make it rule #1 for political wannabes. The GOP has it's Grover Norquist No Tax Pledge, The DFL should have a Money out of Politics Pledge.
+15 # tigerlillie 2016-05-26 10:41
Bill Clinton and dirty money seem to be synonymous.
+15 # lorenbliss 2016-05-26 13:06
Capitalism has turned the U.S. Capitol Building into the political equivalent of the world's biggest whorehouse.

Indeed, it's name should be changed to the U.S. Capital Building -- where all the capitalist pigs go for their government handouts.

But such is capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent, total subjugation and bottomless poverty for all the rest of us.

Against which -- just as courageous Elizabeth Warren is teaching us -- reform is never sufficient.
+10 # CL38 2016-05-26 14:00
As we know, exactly what Sanders is running to stop.
-5 # rocback 2016-05-26 21:46
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright, alright
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're all doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
+10 # Billy Bob 2016-05-26 22:31
He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere Man, please listen
You don't know what you're missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command
He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
+15 # RMDC 2016-05-26 13:16
loren -- "Capitalism has turned the U.S. Capitol Building into the political equivalent of the world's biggest whorehouse."

No truer words were ever spoken. Everyone knows it but no one will say it.
+5 # lorenbliss 2016-05-26 13:55
Thank you.
-6 # rocback 2016-05-26 21:46
Hey that is fine. Admit you all are socialists and we can debate it.
+5 # Billy Bob 2016-05-26 22:33
Admit you're mouthing Trump's talking points and we can debate who signs your checks.

Let's debate the "differences" between sHillary and Trump, since you're doing such an EXCELLENT job of pointing out the stark SIMILARITIES between the two.

I AGREE. Sanders is the opposite of both Trump - AND - Corporate sHillary.

+4 # Robbee 2016-05-26 14:00
everyone knows about it! - but so few know what to do about it!

as bernie puts it - “Long term, we need to go further and establish public funding of elections … American democracy is not about corporations and billionaires being able to buy candidates and elections. It is not about Wall Street and big oil or the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson spending billions of dollars to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer ... the Koch brothers alone, one family, will spend more money in this election cycle than either the Democratic or Republican parties. This is not democracy. This is oligarchy. The defining principle of American democracy is ... every citizen having an equal say ... And that’s the kind of American political system we have to fight for!”

- it's overthrowing the plutoccracy that rules us! - restoring democracy! - and he's told us how we will do it!

we say we love him but, except for reich and i, few here on rsn supports bernie's "political revolution"? - it’s not too late! listen to bernie!

public funding, only! of federal, state and local elections!
+4 # hipocampelo 2016-05-26 16:53
Robbee: You have the important part of the solution. Europe has public funding and limited political advertising (none on TV)
for government elections. It is not the financial free-for-all that it is here, and
campaigning has a limited time line. What's
not to like?
+6 # seeuingoa 2016-05-26 15:18
one question:

Why the Hell didn´t you support/endorse

-9 # rocback 2016-05-26 21:47
Because America is not a nation of socialists.
+2 # Billy Bob 2016-05-26 22:36
And Corporate sHillary has the same 1% agenda as you and Donald Trump.
+2 # Robbee 2016-05-26 23:32
please! everyone! i confess! we are a socialist nation! - please stop the drama! posed by roc! -
# rocback 2016-05-26 21:46
Hey that is fine. Admit you all are socialists and we can debate it.

i freely admit, roc, you are a socialist! i am a socialist! we all are socialist!

the first principle is that every democracy exists by the consent of the governed! gov't is simply rules under which we agree to live in a state!

in the emancipation proclamation, lincoln declared that we were a democracy "of the people, by the people and FOR THE PEOPLE" - recognizing nothing more than that we the people work TOGETHER under a social compact for our benefit - our health, education and welfare

in 1898 congress enacted an inheritance tax - that redistributed wealth from the very wealthy to the gov't, for the benefit of we the people - are we socialist? - you bet!

in 1911 congress enacted the progressive income tax - to tax incomes of rich income earners at rates higher than the 99$ for the benefit of we the people - are we socialist? - you bet!

during the great depression dems enacted social welfare programs for the benefit of we the people - are we socialist? - you bet!

during the mid-60's dems enacted medicare for older people - are we socialist? - you bet!

we have armed forces, police protection and public ed thru high school for the benefit of we the people - are we socialist? - you bet!

roc, who do you think you are?
-1 # Robbee 2016-05-27 18:02
well - i guess debates over? - that was quick!

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