Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Daily Strike-4/22/10-Too Cozy for Comfort

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This will be our last entry until Monday morning, so you better enjoy it. Leave some comments!

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS: Majority Leader Reid today filed cloture on the motion to proceed to the Wall Street Reform bill. Basically what this means is that at 5:15pm on Monday, the Senate will vote whether to debate the bill, subject to a 60 vote threshold. Reid asked for unanimous consent that the bill be considered immediately, but Minority Leader McConnell objected, saying that he wanted to give bipartisan negotiators time to hash out a final deal.

Of course, Reid is smart enough to know what happened last year with health care, where the GOP used delay tactics at every turn to grind the process to a complete halt. Reid won't let that happen. If Republicans want to block debate on financial reform, they will be forced to do it publicly. So far, no Republican has committed to voting yes on Monday. If the vote fails, Democrats will need to find another way to pluck off a single Republican, most likely one of the Maine Senators.

Meanwhile, the President took his push for financial reform on the road to Wall Street today, and quite frankly, did not meet expectations. The Big Picture offered good commentary on his speech:

I am VERY disappointed in Obama's speech. Just look at that New York Times headline: "Don't fight us, join us". That approach makes sense in a lot of contexts, and it would make sense if he was encouraging Wall Street bankers to accept massive pay cuts or to become social workers. But what is "us", what are we working toward, if somehow hedge fund people making $100 million a year off the misery of average people are included in it? How could Wall Street as it exists join "us"? If it somehow can, then nothing is really changing.

The President needs to separate himself as much as possible from the financial industry, especially considering how much money he's taken from them. This bill should NOT be good for the industry, because if it is, it will preserve a system that caused the downfall of the economy. The President would do very well to read this fantastic article from the Wall Street Journal, which provides story of real people, average Americans, who because of intense hardship, could not pay their mortgages. Wealthy derivatives traders profited immensely by betting against these assets. This is fundamentally wrong, and I think most Americans would strongly agree that we'd need to end these dangerous financial instruments if they were explained in these terms.

I'm telling you: the more I find out about financial derivatives, the more I'm convinced that we need to do away with large swaths of the financial industry.

THE SENATE: The Senate voted on the nomination of Denny Chin to be a Judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination was agreed to be a unanimous 98-0 vote. I'm glad that President Obama is finally getting a chance to fill some spots on those all-important Appeals Courts.

The Senate will be out of session until Monday's aforementioned vote.

THE HOUSE: The House today voted to send the Iran Sanctions bill to a House-Senate conference. The House also approved of a "motion to instruct conferees," basically a non-binding request that negotiators get to work as soon as possible. The sanctions bill should be approved with wide bipartisan support, though they won't have too much of an impact unless China and Russia get involved.

That's it for tonight. See you Monday!

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