Today at the Republican Leadership stakeout, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell claimed the GOP’s “41 letter” changed the course of Wall Street Reform and brought Republicans back to the negotiating table. Really, Senator? Are you sure it isn’t the blistering criticism you’re receiving for your closed door meetings with Wall Street executives or that even members of you own party aren’t buying your message?
LAST WEEK: PolitiFact Labels GOP Talking Point On Bailouts “False.” Republicans continue to claim Wall Street reform includes endless taxpayer-funded bailouts for big firms. PolitiFact looked at the claims and found that “Shelby is right that the bill would create a $50 billion fund to help dismantle very large, faltering firms. While there may be just a bit of wiggle room on what costs the fund covers, the bill makes it clear that the money must be used to liquidate — not keep alive — failing firms. Also, the program is administered by the FDIC, and before it can step in to dismantle a firm, FDIC must have agreement of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and three bankruptcy judges. So, to say that the fund ‘is available for virtually any purpose that the Treasury Secretary sees fit,’ is more than a stretch. We find Shelby’s claim to be False.” [PolitiFact.com, 3/25/10]
LAST WEEK: McConnell “Struggled To Answer Accusations That Republicans Were Doing The Bidding Of Big Banks.” The New York Times reported that “…McConnell also struggled to answer accusations that Republicans were doing the bidding of big banks. Pressed by reporters to explain why major Wall Street companies were so strongly opposed to the legislation if it would guarantee future bailouts for them, Mr. McConnell did not answer directly but said that community banks in his home state of Kentucky also opposed the bill. Asked directly if Republicans were acting on behalf of big banks, Mr. McConnell replied, ‘I’d say that’s inaccurate.’” [New York Times, 4/14/10]
LAST WEEK: Corker To McConnell – “Let’s Act Like Adults.” “Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Thursday that he’s been urging his GOP colleagues to be more cautious in the rhetoric they use to describe the Wall Street reform bill. Asked by a reporter if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)’s recent sharply critical comments are harmful to the effort to reach a bipartisan deal, Corker said he hadn’t heard McConnell’s specific remarks, but advised his colleagues to ‘act like adults.’ ‘Yesterday, I was on the Senate floor with Mark Warner. Apparently some things were said,’ Corker said in reference to McConnell’s floor speech. ‘I think this is a bill where that’s not necessary and that there are some differences, but adults can work ‘em out. Let’s act like adults and work ‘em out, but let’s do it in a real bipartisan way.’” [Huffington Post, 4/15/10]
THIS MORNING: Mark Halperin – GOP “Willfully Misreading The Bill.” On an appearance on “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough asked Mark Halperin to “Just this once, defend the Republican position.” Halperin replied, “I cannot defend what they’re doing.” He later said, “They are willfully misreading the bill or they are engaged in a cynical attempt to keep the president from achieving something.” [MSNBC via The Plum Line, 4/20/10]
THIS AFTERNOON: Washington Post – McConnell Softens Tone On Finance Regulation Bill. “After a week of attacking the pending legislation as a ticket to new taxpayer ‘bailouts,’ McConnell is striking a different tone.…On Tuesday, McConnell returned to the chamber and announced he was ‘heartened to hear that bipartisan talks have resumed in earnest.’” [“44” blog, Washington Post, 4/20/10]
THIS AFTERNOON: McConnell Tried To Claim Credit For Ongoing Negotiations On The Wall Street Reform Bill. Today at the Republican stakeout, Republican Leader McConnell tried to take credit for the ongoing negotiations and said, “I think the 41 letter last week indicating that Republicans wanted to see serious negotiation to occur rather than just political sparring has worked, at least for the short term.” [GOP stakeout, 4/20/10]