This morning, multiple media outlets including ThinkProgress noted comments made by Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in which he told the editorial board that financial reform is like “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” In his criticism of the scope of banking reform, Boehner appeared to be minimizing the financial crisis, which caused America to lose over 8 million jobs.
This morning, ThinkProgress caught up with Senate Banking Committee ranking member and financial conference member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) outside of a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA). Asked what he thought about Boehner’s metaphor for the financial crisis and the bill to fix it, Shelby said, “I basically agree with that”:
TP: This morning, it was reported that Minority Leader John Boehner said that financial reform is too broad, it’s basically like using a nuclear weapon on an ant. Do you agree with that kind of sentiment?
SHELBY: Well, I basically agree with that. I voted against it. We could have had a meaningful, substantive bill. There a few good things in it, but it’s a broad reach of power, and you got to ask a question, the real question, ‘are we going to be better off because of this legislation?’ And that’s problematic.
For months, bankers and their lobbyists have coaxed Republicans in both the House and the Senate to fight reform for their industry. At the outset of the legislative process, Shelby told a group of bankers that they could help kill reform if each of them gives $10,000 to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is running for Senate. The fundraiser Shelby attended today for Fiorina was hosted by bank lobbyists, including Charlie Black, who is representing a trade group for financial firms, and Dan Meyer, a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs.
In his press briefing today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Boehner was “opening one’s mouth and removing most of the doubt that you’re completely out of touch with America.” He added, “It demonstrates how out of touch you are currently and it demonstrates exactly the type of mindset that he would bring to leading the House of Representatives.”