Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A minority of 59

Who sounds like the majority party in this exchange, and who sounds like the minority party?

Democrats wanted a free-standing consumer-protection agency. Republicans were willing only to tuck a new regulator inside another agency. Democrats suggested the Treasury Department. Republicans said no.

The Fed, whose leaders had largely abandoned efforts to retain a role in consumer protection, was left as the last candidate.

And keep in mind, it's not the Republicans offering a deal here. It's one Republican. Bob Corker of Tennessee. Give him his deal, and it's still Democrats voting for the financial reform package, and Republicans running against this socialist bailout of Wall Street, or whatever it'll be termed.

As for whether this is a good idea on the merits, it's hard to say. The Federal Reserve has a lousy record protecting consumers from the financial industry. Moreover, the structure of the institution ensures that it's much more beholden to banks than to Congress, and much more interested in the financial sector than consumer protections.

On the other hand, Congress isn't exactly free of banker influence, either. And the idea is to make the consumer regulator a semi-autonomous unit inside the Fed: The regulator would be a presidential appointee, and the office would have its own budget. Here's an argument in favor of the idea. Here's an argument against it. A lot of this comes down to whether you believe Democrats should do whatever is necessary to get some kind of consumer regulator in place, or whether they should give Republicans a choice between supporting a full-on consumer regulator and letting Democrats use their opposition as a club for the midterm elections.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 3, 2010; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Chutzpah
Next: Lunch break


Would it be worthwhile to call the GOP bluff, and make them apply all of their procedural delays, rather than just threatening those delays? Would it be like the government shutdown of 1995, where the public saw GOP tactics for what they really were, or would it further hurt the chance for future bipartisanship?

Posted by: jduptonma | March 3, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The worst outcome is an emasculated CFPA that is "bipartisan." It is the Lucy and the football scenario all over again, just like HCR. Repiglicans bargain hard for concessions and then refuse to support the compromise legislation. The dems better have a robust CFPA proposal ready if the "bipartisan" one doesn't get significant (more than 1) repiglican vote. How many times will dems have to fall on their a$$es, before they realize that repiglicans are going to pull the football away every time?

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"give Republicans a choice between supporting a full-on consumer regulator and letting Democrats use their opposition as a club for the midterm elections."

The problem is that I don't think most know about the GOP opposition to financial reforms. They do know, though, that Obama gave tons of their hard earned money to bankers, or something.

The Dems need a whole bunch more Bunning-like stunts, and they need to relate them to financial reform. Problem is, that probably won't happen. The alternative -- that Dems take up the populist anti-Banker cause -- isn't likely to happen while they're in the majority. All this doesn't bode well for 2010...

Posted by: Chris_ | March 3, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course Democrats should use Republican opposition as a club for the elections. At this point, they deserve to lose the majority since they are letting Republicans lead anyway. Say what you will about Republicans but by not standing up to Republicans and holding them accountable for their actions, Democrats are doing an abysmal job of leading.

Posted by: caed | March 3, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I don't get--why don't the Dems play hardball in a real way?

In February, March, April, pass whatever legislation you can pass with the Republicans. And then in July, GO BACK and write another bill, this one with the other things you want in it. Like what Sherrod Brown is going with the public option.

Voters aren't stupid. They understand someone saying "look, I took what I could get, but here's what I really want. Help me get it." Give them a reason to send you back, and they will.

And what are Republicans going to do? Be MORE obstructionist?

Posted by: theorajones1 | March 3, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: zosima | March 3, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Don't Democrats have to get something done since they have controlled Congress for 3 years. It seems like passing financial regulatory reform would be a necessary thing, including Republican support with this sensible compromise.

Posted by: lancediverson | March 3, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

We all know that Mr. Klein is a lapdog for Obama so his words are tainted. However, we now know that Obama must be out of his mind. This Obamacare with 51 votes is utter madness. The working and tax-paying citizens of this country will never forgive or forget this treachery by the Democrats. They will pay dearly in November and in 2012.

Posted by: walterndebby | March 3, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This is ludicrous. Every time on every thing, the same song and dance. It is time -- way past time -- for the Democrats to use the majority that they won by fair elections and start governing. Every bill should be brought to a vote under reconciliation and the Repuglicans can just suffer the consequences of their childishness.

Posted by: cdmomega | March 3, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I am sick and tired of our Democratic Senators, and supposed centrist Democratic Reps. They better pick aside. When the Repukes were in power they rammed everything through. We should do the same. That's what elections are for. We won. Let's implement our ideas. And if America so rejects Progressive ideas, they will kick us out of the office.

Posted by: moto3 | March 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

State INSURANCE COMMISSIONS were created as "free-standing consumer protection agencies".

So how well has that worked out in regard to health insurance and the cost of health care?

Republicans and independents now realize that liberal government has failed America; and other solutions, perhaps even market driven competition may be better with a far more limited role for Government.'s hard to make progress with fatheads like Rangel now under the bus@

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | March 3, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

A comment by Walter D. is about as ignorant as they come! When the G.O.P. uses recon., a okay: cutting taxes twice without paying 4 it, perscription drug law etc. ect. When the Dems use it, "utter madness", these clowns in the G.O.P. party r as 2 faced as I've ever seen b4. However, the Dems. better wake-up, grow some testicles, & start ramming thru h.c. If they think they will get any sort of "bi-partian" part., won't happen. They could get rid of Reid&Lieberman,& start playing hardball. Put in a guy like Weiner, he would get things done!!

Posted by: hitch78 | March 3, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

It's way past time to bust some heads.

They need to do the work in a normal way, if republicans want to play along good. If they want to walk out, they should keep right on writing the bill without them. When they cry they didn't have any input point out that it's because they left. If they can't get it passed a fillibuster, they need to make them fillibuster like they did the lying hypocrite from KY. And cut them to pieces in November.

Posted by: TisforTwit | March 3, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Let make sure I understand this; Congress wants a "new" consumer agency that we be more responsive to the public's needs, when the chief auditor for OFHEO went before the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Barney Frank, to report the trouble that Fannie May and Freddie Mac were in, and Frank, Maxine Winters, and other committee democratic members, called the man a liar, and we are to believe that Congress is looking out for the public interest? Instead of adding a new bureaucracy, why doesn't Congress just support the agency that already exits and, SEC, etc., and enforce the laws which are on the books already.

Posted by: cliff01 | March 3, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

For the life of me I cannot understand why President Obama has turned himself inside out to appease this recalcitrant Republican Party of No,NO,NO,NO,NO! They gave no quarter for ALL the years they held sway in Washington and ran rough-shod over the Democrats, the Constitution, our Treasury and our Military, yet THEY have the audacity this President sadly LACKS. They LIE mercilessly and this Paper prints every word they say as if it were Gospel Truth. (See Orrin Hatch's recent article of provable lies) Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are afforded the status of "Political Pundits" and are given "air time" to spew their hatred and vicious invective. Sane, intelligent, reasonable people are disdained by the "teabaggers", as if intelligence was some kind of disease to be avoided at all costs. The Democrats need to grow some gonads and start to behave like they really mean what they say. They also have to UNITE and fight the Republicans as one entity. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The only thing they have to fear in November is their constituents....IF they continue to "dither" and "wring their hands" about whether or not they should use their MAJORITY for the common good! GET OVER IT! The Republicans used Reconciliation over and over again to push through their tax breaks for the richest of the rich, but who paid the bill when the bailouts came for the "Banks too big to fail"? The poor working stiffs of America paid and continue to pay and pay and pay. Who lobbies for us, anyway? The Democratic Majority was supposed to get the message in Washington, that we wanted and needed things to CHANGE. They were elected to do the will of the PEOPLE, not RICH people "John Q. Public" kind of people. I hope they don't blow it or there will be new faces in Washington come November.

Posted by: billnbillieskid | March 4, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

The purpose of the Senate was to slow democracy for out founding fathers realized full well the dangers to freedom that "tyranny of the majority" represented. When we have serious differences over issues clearly not handled by the enumerated powers we should not be looking to cram down items, that in other times would be handled not legislation but constitutional amendment (forcing americans to buy products from private or public companies under threat of fine or prison). I remind those who would rush to judgment that "more tears are caused by answered prayers than unanswered prayers." And that while a simple majority of this lame duck senate may approve this bill a significant majority of americans, those these senators serve, oppose it.

Posted by: billunderhill | March 4, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Considering its performance in the healthcare debate, we should not be surprised that Democrats is the party much in need of healthcare -- namely the implantation of a spine. What the problem is also is the 59 vote majority is illusory. Ben Nelson is more of a Republican than a Democrat, Blanche Lincoln is in the thralls of just about every corporate special interest you can name. Say what you will about Republicans, they have a spine and they are disciplined. Wrong, malicious and evil,yes, but discliplined. The clowns that make up some of the Dems think that helping Republicans defeat Obama and meet his Waterloo is something of a plus for them, which is insane on its face. If you cannot get through major legislation with this majority then you kinda deserve to be in the minority. It is no use having good ideas if you haven't the backbone to make them a reality, and Democrats? No backbone. Lots of whining, no backbone. And sadly, come November, if they don't get something done, they won't have that burden on them anymore. It will be left to Republican Party, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America.

Posted by: philly2 | March 4, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party is like the Hohenzollerns of Europe who taught that it was even immoral to merely Dislike Kaiser Wilhelm II in their entitlement to rule.

Posted by: Glittbryt | March 6, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company