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Tell Senate Democrats: Unite against Republican “Wall Street wish list” bill

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Petition to Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Richard Durbin, Patty Murray:

We urge you to unite Senate Democrats in opposition to Senate banking committee chairman Richard Shelby’s broad assault on financial sector reforms and refuse to lend bipartisan cover to any giveaways to Wall Street.

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    Tell Senate Democrats: Unite against Republican “Wall Street wish list” bill

    The Republican head of the Senate banking committee just revealed a massive bill that reads like a Wall Street wish list.

    The so-called “Shelby Bill,” named after Richard Shelby (R-AL), would make it far more difficult to subject the biggest financial institutions to strict standards and would blow massive holes in the rest of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.1

    The Obama administration and progressive champions like banking committee ranking member Senator Sherrod Brown have already blasted the bill, but the reaction from a few members of the Wall Street wing of the Senate Democratic caucus was muddled and far too conciliatory.2 We need to make it clear to leaders of the Senate Democratic caucus that no Democrat should be lending “bipartisan” support to a massive Wall Street giveaway.

    Tell Senate Democrats: Unite against Republican “Wall Street wish list” bill.

    Senator Brown, the ranking Democrat on the banking committee, worked for months with Senator Shelby to try and craft a truly bipartisan bill, one that helped small, community banks without fueling more Wall Street greed, fraud, and recklessness. But after Brown refused to endorse giveaways to the biggest banks, Shelby broke off negotiations.3

    Giant Wall Street firms are hiding behind small community banks for political cover. Opponents of Wall Street reform claim that new rules – from requirements that banks hold actual capital to cover their bets to oversight from Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – fall hardest on community and regional banks, not the too-big-to-fail behemoths. But the truth is that while there are some measures we could take to help small community lenders, Republicans’ actual proposals will mostly help Wall Street titans.4

    There is a very real risk that corporate Democrats will buy the lies and misleading rhetoric, and give away too much. Instead of fiercely opposing the Shelby bill from the start, Democratic Senate banking committee members such as Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, and Jack Reed all released cautious statements noting concerns but remaining open to compromise.5 This is no time for abandoning principles – Democratic support for the Shelby bill in any form would not only put us all at risk of another Wall Street meltdown, it would Republicans bipartisan cover for giveaways to the big banks.

    Tell Senate Democrats: Unite against Republican “Wall Street wish list” bill.

    The Shelby bill is 216 pages of handouts that our friends at Americans for Financial Reform say “would constitute a major rollback of financial reform.” It would weaken the ability of regulators to oversee big non-bank financial institutions like insurance companies, even though the meltdown of AIG was a huge part of the last crisis. It adds an absurd and cumbersome process before the Federal Reserve can apply stricter standards to the biggest banks, blows huge holes in mortgage underwriting rules that would lead to more shady and abuse subprime lending, and require the re-review and re-examination of almost every regulation in Dodd-Frank, including many that have not been implemented yet.6

    No Democrat should spend a split second considering supporting these changes. Nor should they attempt to negotiate with Republicans who have made their true agenda so clear, at least until Senator Shelby takes the massive Wall Street handouts off the table. We need to show that we don’t care how much arm-twisting Wall Street lobbyists are doing: rolling back Wall Street reform is simply unacceptable.

    Tell Senate Democrats: Unite against Republican “Wall Street wish list” bill.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Ryan Tracy, “Here’s What’s in the Shelby Bill,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2015.
    2. Ryan Tracy and Victoria McGrane, “Democrats Greet Shelby Banking Bill With Skepticism,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2015.
    3. Michael Flaherty, “Senate Banking bill proposes several changes for Fed: source,” Reuters, May 12, 2015.
    4. Stacy Mitchell, “One in Four Local Banks Has Vanished Since 2008. Why We Should Treat It as a National Crisis,” Yes! Magazine, May 6, 2015.
    5. Tracy and McGrane, “Democrats Greet Shelby Banking Bill With Skepticism.”
    6. AFR Statement on Senator Shelby’s Draft Bill,” Americans for Financial Reform, May 12, 2015.