After wrangling late into the night Thursday, the White House was finally able to whip enough Democratic votes to pass the controversial Continuing Resolution/Omnibus spending bill (or "CRomnibus"), despite the inclusion of a provision that guts a key part of the Dodd/Frank financial reform law. The Senate is set to take up the bill today, and they have until midnight on Saturday to avoid a government shutdown.
The essential dispute is that while there was already a rule that prevented banks from gambling with FDIC-insured deposits, Dodd-Frank added a rule that said banks had to set up a whole other company to do their gambling, reasoning that risky derivatives could still sink a company with FDIC-insured deposits even if those deposits were not used in the trades. Republicans have amended the CRomnibus to repeal that provision. In a fact sheet on his website, Speaker John Boehner explained that it was all about helping farmers:
The bill includes several provisions to protect jobs and rein in regulatory overreach, including a provision amending the Dodd-Frank law to protect farmers and other commodity producers from having to put down excessive collateral to get a loan, expand their businesses, and hedge production.
The strange thing is that no one seems to know who put this provision in there, and literally no one is defending it. In fact, I searched Congressional transcripts this week for any mention of farmers and Dodd/Frank, and aside from a clip of Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) reading that fact sheet aloud to the rules committee, not a single Republican invoked this defense for that provision. There was, however, one Democrat who brought up the "save the farmers" argument, and that was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), on Thursday:
"Whatever you think about the bill, that description is flatly wrong. In fact, that description applies to yet another Wall Street reform rollback that the Republicans are pushing right now, which is attached to a completely different bill."
Ah, but of course, she would say that. Is there anyone who isn't a Democrap propagandist to back that up?
"The other thing that's important is we are going to help farmers and ranchers and small businesses being able to cover the risk that they need without taking a lot of their operating capital, putting that operating capital into plant and equipment so they can hire and create more jobs in America. These are all issues that have bipartisan support in the past and I urge my colleagues, let's do something good for the American people and let's pass s. 2244 as amended."
That bill that Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) referenced at the end there, S.2244, is the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014, which has already passed the House and the Senate, and Neugebauer's amendment mirrored the Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act, which guts a different part of Dodd/Frank.
When some Beltway type tries to sell this bill as a "compromise" that has goodies and pain for "both sides," ask them which side this provision is for, because neither side seems to want to fight for it, and the ones insisting on it don't even know what it is. Democrats are pushing for "goodies" like fighting Ebola, you know, because they're in the pocket of Big Liberian Villager.