Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor to declare his opposition to the financial reform bill before the Senate, claiming that it “institutionalizes” bailouts of Wall Street. In a press conference, he said the financial reform bill proposed by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) means “a permanent taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks,” “an endless taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks,” and “a perpetual taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks.” McConnell’s line of argument was echoed by many of his fellow Republicans.
Time’s Adam Sorenson noted yesterday that McConnell’s false charge against financial reform “is the exact argument pollster Frank Luntz urged Republicans to make earlier this year in a widely publicized memo” that argued that “the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.” On the Senate floor today, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) ripped into McConnell’s cynical use of Luntz talking points to protect Wall Street from reform:
DODD: To hear members of this body repeat the utter falsehoods concocted by special interests whose jobs and pensions are plenty secure, thank you very much, that this bill would lead to more bailouts. Frank Luntz suggested that allies of the big banks say, and I quote him, “if there’s one thing we can all agree on.” This is Frank Luntz talking. “If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the bad decisions and harmful policies by Washington bureaucrats that in many ways led to the economic crash must never be repeated.” End of quote. The minority leader, speaking yesterday, let me quote him. “If there’s one thing Americans agree on when it comes to the financial reform, it’s this. Never again should taxpayers be expected to bailout Wall Street from its own mistakes. We cannot allow endless taxpayer bailouts for big Wall Street banks. And that’s why we must not pass the financial reform bill that’s about to hit the floor.” End of quote. Remember what Frank Luntz said. Quote, “the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the big bank bailout.” End of quote. Mr. President, it’s straight from Wall Street special interest talking points!
The Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo explains that “neither the financial reform bill passed by the House of Representatives last year nor the one moving through the Senate makes bailouts ‘permanent.’ In fact, both include a resolution authority, aimed at unwinding systemically risky financial firms, and funded by assessments on the biggest firms themselves.” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) told Ezra Klein today that McConnell “either doesn’t understand or chooses not to understand” the actual policy of financial reform.