Senate Democrats

Reid And Dodd, In Letter, Call On McConnell To Stop Protecting Wall Street And Start Supporting Wall Street Accountability

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd sent a written response to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today, responding to a recent letter from the Senate Republican Caucus outlining Republicans’ intent to protect Wall Street and keep the same rules in place that brought America’s economy to the brink of collapse.   In their response, Reid and Dodd call out Republicans for “mischaracterizing the legislation and protecting Wall Street,” and urge them to “reverse course and join with us to produce a strong bipartisan bill.”   Further, Reid and Dodd reminded Senate Republicans about "the stakes for America’s economy” related to Wall Street reform.  Senate Democrats are committed to passing Wall Street reform this year to help create a financial system that works for all Americans – not just the sort of Wall Street executives that Senator McConnell recently met with behind closed doors.   Excerpts of Reid and Dodd’s letter to Senator McConnell:   “As you know, Democrats have been working in a bipartisan manner for months.  Any claim to the contrary at this late stage of the process seems nothing more than a transparently partisan effort to kill Wall Street reform.”  “Based on this process, Chairman Dodd developed a bill that incorporated numerous ideas from the bipartisan working groups and his discussion with individual Republican members of the committee.  Indeed, while referring to the committee-reported bill, Senator Shelby, the ranking member, was reported to have said that ‘lawmakers are 80 percent in agreement,’ certainly not the hallmark of a partisan product.” “Unfortunately, the Senate Republican leadership seems more interested in mischaracterizing the legislation and protecting Wall Street.  As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman noted recently, ‘It’s a truly shameless performance…pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite.’  Krugman went on to observe that Senate Republican leaders have held meetings with Wall Street lobbyists in an effort to coordinate their political strategy.” “Given that the stakes for America’s economy and our taxpayers could not be higher, we strongly urge you to reconsider your approach and truly work with us on this much needed reform.”        Below is the text of the letter to Senator McConnell:   April 20, 2010   The Honorable Mitch McConnell Republican Leader S-230, The Capitol  Washington, D.C. 20510   Dear Senator McConnell:   We write in response to the April 14 letter signed by the members of your conference asking that a “bipartisan and inclusive approach” be used to develop Wall Street reform legislation.  As you know, Democrats have been working in a bipartisan manner for months.  Any claim to the contrary at this late stage of the process seems nothing more than a transparently partisan effort to kill Wall Street reform.     Beginning last year Banking Committee Chairman Dodd led dozens of bipartisan meetings and committee hearings to develop a consensus for a comprehensive, Wall Street reform bill.  Additionally, beginning late last fall, Chairman Dodd created bipartisan working groups within the committee and worked intensively with Senators Shelby and Corker to resolve any lingering policy differences.    Based on this process, Chairman Dodd developed a bill that incorporated numerous ideas from the bipartisan working groups and his discussion with individual Republican members of the committee.  Indeed, while referring to the committee-reported bill, Senator Shelby, the ranking member, was reported to have said that “lawmakers are 80 percent in agreement,” certainly not the hallmark of a partisan product.   With so much bipartisan progress on the substance of the legislation, it seems clear that we could quickly pass a bipartisan bill if both sides were working in good faith.  Unfortunately, the Senate Republican leadership seems more interested in mischaracterizing the legislation and protecting Wall Street.  As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman noted recently, “It’s a truly shameless performance…pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite.”  Krugman went on to observe that Senate Republican leaders have held meetings with Wall Street lobbyists in an effort to coordinate their political strategy.   Given that the stakes for America’s economy and our taxpayers could not be higher, we strongly urge you to reconsider your approach and truly work with us on this much needed reform.  As members who have worked hard on this legislation, we ask you to reverse course and join with us to produce a strong bipartisan bill.    We stand ready to consider additional suggestions from Senate Republicans before and after the bill reaches the Senate floor.  Senator Dodd is committed to continuing his dialogue with Senate Republicans and there will be opportunities for members of both parties to offer amendments to this bill on the Senate floor.   The American people expect us to work together to bring true accountability to Wall Street and do all we can to protect them from another financial crisis.    Sincerely,   HARRY REID                                                             CHRIS DODD Majority Leader                                                           United States Senator    

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