Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts bankers: ‘Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.’
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continued her attack on the proposed “Cromnibus” spending bill on Friday, calling out both party colleagues and the banking industry for a provision in the bill that would repeal part of the Dodd-Frank economic oversight act.
“There’s a lot of talk lately about how the Dodd-Frank Act isn’t perfect,” Warren said on the Senate floor. “There’s a lot of talk coming from Citigroup about how the Dodd-Frank Act isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi: I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.”
The bill passed in the Republican-dominated House on Thursday following the inclusion of a clause that would allow banks to once again trade derivatives alongside regular bank accounts.
Earlier this week, Warren accused Citigroup lobbyists of writing the provision, which she said was inserted into the $1.1 trillion bill at the last minute. Reuters reported that the measure has drawn criticism from both Democrats and more conservative Republicans, each of whom object to other parts of the bill.
“Many Wall Street institutions have exerted extraordinary influence in Washington’s corridors of power, but Citigroup has risen above the others,” she said on Friday. “Its grip over economic policymaking in the executive branch is unprecedented.”
Warren then mentioned that several current and former federal officials — including Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew — are past Citigroup employees. She later accused the Treasury Department of blocking the Brown-Kaufman Amendment to Dodd-Frank, which would have placed limits on the size of financial institutions and broken up the country’s six biggest banks.
The proof of the department’s involvement, she said, was an unidentified senior Treasury official’s statement to New York Magazine in 2010 that, “If we’d been for it, it probably would have happened. But we weren’t, so it didn’t.”
The proposal failed by a 61 to 33 vote in the Senate in May 2010.
“A financial institution has become so big and so powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage. That alone is a reason enough for us break them up,” Warren said on Friday. “Enough is enough.”
If passed by the Senate, the “Cromnibus” bill would provide funding for every government agency through September 2015, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security. Funding for that department would be extended through Feb. 27, at which point the new Republican majority in the Senate is expected to deny it funding in an attempt to scuttle President Barack Obama’s executive order regarding immigration reform.
Watch Warren’s remarks, as aired on MSNBC on Friday, below.