Call Congress To Oppose Backroom Wall Street Deal

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This post first appeared at Campaign for America’s Future.

We’re calling for an all-out push today to stop a backroom deal that would reopen the Wall Street derivatives casino that caused so much damage in 2008, with taxpayers stuck with the bill for cleaning up the mess.

We’ve joined forces with Americans for Financial Reform in asking people to call their representative in the House — you can use the main Capitol switchboard number, 202-224-3121 — and call on Congress to reject this giveaway to Wall Street.

Activists have been fighting on two fronts to protect hard-won provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. There is an attempt to insert language into a terrorism insurance bill that would weaken rules in the financial reform bill regarding derivatives trading. That weakening effort is being led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling. That bill was debated on the House floor today and could come up for a vote as early as this evening.

The other front is on the budget bill itself, where at the behest of Wall Street lobbyists some members of Congress are seeking to restore the ability for large banking institutions to engage in derivatives trading while being backstopped by the federal government. If there is another collapse in the derivatives market similar to the one in 2008, taxpayers would once again be stuck with bailing out the reckless gamblers.

Yesterday Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called on Congress to take those provisions out of the budget bill.

“Now, the House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful,” she said. “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.”

Likewise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for Democrats to oppose the provision. “These provisions are destructive to middle-class families and to the practice of our democracy. We must get them out of the omnibus package,” Pelosi said in a statement.

In addition to calling members of Congress, you can sign and share this petition to demonstrate your opposition to this Wall Street backroom deal.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and presented here to offer a variety of perspectives to our readers.

Isaiah J. Poole is the communications director for People's Action. The former \editor of, he worked for 25 years in mainstream media, most recently at Congressional Quarterly, where he covered congressional leadership and tracked major bills through Congress. He also served as a founding member of the Washington Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter: @ijpoole.
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