A Washington state Democrat warned that President Obama could do some “really awful things” next year with legislative naiveté and his small core of advisers.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Obama “made a mistake” by agreeing to sign the cromnibus without pressuring Republicans to take out Wall Street provisions objected to by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others.
“He did not have to say he would support it. That he wanted us to pass it. We were in the midst of pulling it down in the Democratic caucus when the president suddenly jumped in and said, ‘Oh, well I want this.’ And I’m – what is very hard for me to understand is how he thinks that’s better for the American people,” McDermott said.
The congressman stressed that he “lived through the savings and loan crisis and then through the one that went on later.”
“And you got to say to yourself, when are you going to learn that people are greedy? And that government has to have regulations to control their greed. This is going to happen again as sure as I’m sitting here.”
McDermott said the country needs a president “who will act like Teddy Roosevelt did and break up the banks.”
“We cannot allow that much power to concentrate in so few hands. That’s what Teddy Roosevelt did as the trust buster. And what’s happened in this banking industry, the financial services industry, it’s got more and more powerful between, you know, Citizens United where they can pump all the money they want into the system to buy elections. And at the same time go out and play with the people’s money at the gambling table,” he continued.
“We have given them carte blanche to put us into something really horrendous. And I really think that as Elizabeth Warren suggested that bill should have broken up Citibank when it passed, the Dodd-Frank Bill. We didn’t do it. And we’re going to pay for it down the road.”
With Republicans in control of the House and Senate in the 114th Congress, McDermott stressed that Obama “is going to have to listen to some people other than the little group of people around him now.”
“He is all by himself. He doesn’t have the Senate to save him as they have in the last six years. And he is really in danger of really doing some awful things because he really doesn’t understand,” McDermott said.
“There is a story about Governor Ray of Iowa who was once asked about a bill and he said, ‘Listen, I vote last.’ And that’s what the president should have said when they asked him about this bill. I’m going to make my decision after I see what the House and Senate do. But he got into it way to early and put his cards on the table face up. You could see what he had.”