Elizabeth Warren Wants to Shut Down the Government

Senator Elizabeth Warren is bat guano crazy. She is calling on Democrats in the House to oppose the bi-partisan budget bill negotiated by the House and Senate because an obscure rule dealing with derivatives contained in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform bill has been removed.


If House Democrats follow her lead, the budget bill will fail and the government will be forced to shut down at 12:01 AM on Friday. At present, Speaker Boehner does not have enough votes for Republicans to pass the measure themselves. That’s because some conservatives in the House are also bat guano crazy and insist they can defund the president’s immigration orders, despite a majority of Democrats in the Senate and a certain veto from President Obama, even if they could somehow get the measure through the upper body.

I have yet to hear one right-winger explain just how defunding can work under these circumstances. Do they plan to hypnotize 15 Democratic senators and, through the power of suggestion, get them to vote for the provision defunding the immigration executive orders? Maybe they don’t know that President Obama has to sign the bill for them to achieve victory. Lacking a coherent plan, their futile gesture will fail and make them look, well, crazy.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on Democrats in the House to use their leverage and reject a bipartisan spending bill to keep the government open until a measure tucked inside rolling back a piece of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law is removed.

“Who does Congress work for?” Warren said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. “Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers, or does it work for all the people?”

Warren’s call went further than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said Wednesday that she is “deeply troubled” by the banking measure. The Democratic discontent with the measure could make passing the bill more difficult, as House Speaker John Boehner is not expected to have enough votes on his own.

(Also on POLITICO: Coburn threatens spending deal over defense bill)

Warren, a popular figure on the left, told Democrats to withhold their support for the funding bill until the Wall Street provisions are removed. Warren, a fierce opponent of Wall Street, is a populist who has supported reforming banks for years.

“Now, the House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful,” she continued. “The House is about to vote on a budget deal, a deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”

She acknowledged that bipartisan House and Senate negotiators have worked “long and hard” on the spending bill, and that Senate leadership “deserve great credit for preventing the House from carrying out some of their more aggressive … fantasies about dismantling even more pieces of financial reform.”


Note: The amendment to Dodd-Frank would mostly help farmers and other commodity producers.

Some House conservatives want to join with liberal House Democrats to assure a government shutdown. They probably wouldn’t admit it, but that is the practical effect of their plans. But for rabid ideologues of the right and left, “practical” is just another word for “cowardice.”


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