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Like a civics textbook come to life

The Senate is currently considering Richard Shelby's amendment to move the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the Federal Reserve to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., substantially weakening it along the way. Annie Lowrey reports on how the debate is playing out:

Senators are currently debating the amendment on the floor, and they aren’t pulling their punches. A few minutes ago, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) bellowed, “[This amendment] is designed to take a knife and carve the heart out of this financial reform!”

In response, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) said, “You cannot denigrate the other party and denigrate every single thing they put up as an amendment!” He added, “If every amendment is going to get the treatment this amendment is getting, … we’re not going to have much success on this bill!” He then argued that the bill, as written, would control, “every single little thing for Middle America!”

President Barack Obama also weighed into the consumer protection debate, releasing a statement that says, “Alternatives that gut consumer protections and do nothing to empower the American people by cracking down on unfair and predatory practices are unacceptable, and I urge the Senate to vote no.” He also said Shelby’s amendment had been “written by Wall Street’s lobbyists.”

World's greatest deliberative body, baby.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 6, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
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Next: Senate to vote on breaking up the banks and auditing the Fed


The Senate's role as the "cooling saucer" is premised on its being less partisan than the House, which doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Further, that role is premised on an 18th century framework, in which the federal government was arguably less active in domestic affairs. And there's the 17th amendment, which made the body more democratic. Put that all together, and the Senate is having an identity crisis.

Posted by: jduptonma | May 6, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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