Republicans may be squandering the perceived advantage they enjoyed in the wake of Scott Brown’s surprise victory last January. The GOP, with Brown’s support, have apparently succeeded in blocking much-needed reform of the financial industry for the time being.
Here’s what Sen. John Kerry had to say late Monday:
“This is not a good moment for the United States Senate. It’s been nearly two years since the Wall Street meltdown and still the Republicans are blocking reforms to end the policies that allowed it to happen in the first place. Every day that goes by without reform is an invitation to more taxpayer bailouts and Wall Street greed over reform to protect Main Street. A free pass for Wall Street left American taxpayers holding the bag with jobs destroyed and life savings wiped out. The bare minimum the Senate should do is pass legislation to end the era of ‘too big to fail,’ and if Senate Republicans won’t do that, they should at least allow the debate to go forward. We’re just trying to provide transparency and regulate the derivatives market, insist on supervision, protect investors, and improve disclosure for executive compensation. That should be a shared responsibility for governing.”
Here’s Brown’s defense:
“I was hopeful that both sides would have reached a bi-partisan agreement by today that protects the safety of our financial system, as well as the interests of taxpayers and consumers. My vote is not a vote against financial reform; instead it’s a vote to insist that the parties continue bi-partisan negotiations to come up with a commonsense bill we can all be proud of.
“As currently written, the legislation contains loopholes that could leave the taxpayers on the hook for future bailouts of Wall Street. This bill would also hurt jobs in Massachusetts, including small start-up businesses that did not contribute to the economic crisis and are the job-creating engines that will get our economy moving again.
“With millions of Americans affected by the financial crisis, this issue is too important to play political games with or rush through Congress along party lines. There are serious problems with this legislation that must be fixed and I remain hopeful that a bi-partisan agreement can be reached soon.”