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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Russ Feingold- Wall St. Lobbyists’ Unlikely Ally

The financial reform bill, with it’s Vockler rule, it’s consumer protection agency, and it’s audit the Fed amendment, is heading in for a landing.

That’s before Sen. Byrd passed and the Massachusetts Centerfold decided he doesn’t exactly like taxing banks.

And now with opposition from the left via Russ Feingold, Congressional leaders may have no choice but to give in to GOP demands to drop the bank tax, which may not even help.

First…Scott Brown

Brown, one of the original Republican yes-votes, said Friday that he was “surprised and extremely disappointed” that the bank tax had made it into the final bill.

“I’ve said repeatedly that I cannot support any bill that raises taxes,” Brown said.

Like creamer said, the American people can’t be rational with anytihng that involves the word taxes.

Democrats scurried to replace Brown’s vote, trying to secure the votes of the two Democratic noes…Wisconson’s Russ Feingold and Washington’s Maria Cantwell. Feingold is having none of it;

“As I have indicated for some time now, my test for the financial regulatory reform bill is whether it will prevent another crisis,” reads a statement from Feingold’s office. “The conference committee’s proposal fails that test and for that reason I will not vote to advance it. During debate on the bill, I supported several efforts to break up ‘too big to fail’ Wall Street banks and restore the proven safeguards established after the Great Depression separating Main Street banks from big Wall Street firms, among other issues. Unfortunately, these crucial reforms were rejected. While there are some positive provisions in the final measure, the lack of strong reforms is clear confirmation that Wall Street lobbyists and their allies in Washington continue to wield significant influence on the process.”

So those positive provisions will have to fail because Goddamn it! This bill does not meet the Russ Feingold perfection level. Feingold thinks this bill won’t prevent another crisis (he’s probably right because nothing will), and thinks it’s a sign Wall Street lobbyists continue to wield significant influence (which would probably come as a shock to them seeing as they failed to kill this bill), so his solution to the problem is…wait until AFTER the conference report comes out to make demands? Maybe Russ would feel better if we killed the filibuster so that we don’t have to placate Scott Brown to Ben Nelson and we could make the bill stronger. Oh, wait, I forgot, Feingold likes the filibuster!

Ironic- the fact that Russ Feingold, who despises Wall Street lobbyists, may actually help them deliver the defeat they’ve been paid to fight for.

Since Russ opened his mouth, both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have move themselves to undecided. Even with Cantwell and Byrd’s replacement, it looks like Democrats are short 2 votes.

A reader at TPM figures it out;

Coincidence that [Collins] plays Lucy hours after Feingold declares he won’t vote for financial reform? I think not. We can only hold their feet to the fire when we are united. A very selfish act from Russ, who totally misread the situation and what would happen? What are the odds that we will have the tougher bill Feingold wants in the next Congress? Exactly zero. This is real politics, not third-grade Model U.N. Feingold’s decision makes it more likely we will face another meltdown because we won’t have this majority next time around.

I’m left wondering, with the political situation so polarized, what happens when it becomes impossible to get 60 votes on ANY piece of legislation? What happens when it’s impossible to even get 50?  


  1. jsfox

    that Russ is pulling a Dennis Kucinich here and is just making noise to end up changing his vote in the end.

    If in the end he does not, yes his principals will be intact, but so will all the things this bill would have fixed.

    I have little patience for Progressives who insist on the whole loaf who in the end get no loaf at all, starving more than just themselves.

    So  I suggest pounding on him. He accepts emails from non constituents and here’s the contact page:

  2. jsfox

    this may well be going back to conference. Feingold says  no and now so does Brown. Now my problem is that Dorgan say back into conference to address Bown’s issues. I am not sure this is the right approach. I think at least a little push back is in order. Brown already got a carve out and now he decides he wants more, how about less. And then promising to pound him in MA for killing Fin Reg

  3. rfahey22

    He was my senator growing up, so I’m familiar with his occasional pig-headedness.  The problem is that, at least with financial reform, he seems to have been so inflexible as to make it impossible for him to have been an effective negotiator to improve the bill.  And, I frankly find it unacceptable for a Democrat to filibuster Democratic legislation, regardless of whether the senator in question agrees with the bill – if he disagrees with it, then he can certainly vote against it after voting for cloture.

    I don’t even see how this benefits him politically.  He’s won by razor-thin margins before, maybe he’s angling to do it again.

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