OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

A Failed Vote on Breaking up Banks

May 7, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate last night voted on a financial reform amendment that, although probably never having a real shot at passing, gives us a unique chance to see in the stark relief the divisions in both parties on truly reining in the “too big to fail” banks.

The amendment, a version of the SAFE Banking Act sponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown [D, OH] and Ted Kaufman [D, DE], would have placed strict size caps on banks and non-bank financial companies. In practical terms, it would have forced the breaking up of some of the Wall Street corporations. Instead of consolidating like they have been doing for the past 20 years, banks like Bank of America and Chase would have been forced to sell some of their branches off to smaller regional banks over a period of three years.

Obviously, the big banks were dead set against this amendment. With no economic literature showing any economies of scale for banks with assets above $100 billion or so, and plenty of studies showing banks getting more predatory and abusive as they get bigger, there was not a very substantial policy argument to be made against it. There wasn’t even too much of a debate in the Senate. Banking Committee Chairman and financial reform floor manager Chris Dodd [D, CT] called up the amendment last night suddenly for a snap vote, in an apparent attempt to catch the Senate off guard and cut-off progress in organizing that was being made by reform advocates.

When the roll was called, the amendment failed overwhelmingly, 33-61. The Democrats were sharply divided, and the lists of the Democrats voting “no” and the Democrats voting “yes” are really interesting. You can view them here:

Thirty-three Republicans voted against the amendment, and three voted in favor — Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK], Sen. John Ensign [R, NV] and Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL].

Also worth paying attention to is the list of senators who dodged going down on the record on the amendment at all by voting “abstain”:

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

  • gelion414 05/07/2010 8:09pm

    The banks are responsible for all of our worst nightmares and the fact they have even been allowed to function at their size for the last 50 years is sickening. Any senator or representative that votes against ending the big banks needs to be replaced IMMEDIATELY. As this vote shows… they aren’t in it for the American Citizen, they’re in it for their lobbying pocket-book. Take action in your area, write your senators and reps today and tell them to hold the banks responsible and break the evil up!!!

  • Comm_reply
    BCXtreme 05/12/2010 6:15am

    No, the government messing with the banks for the last 50 years is responsible for the nightmares.

  • Moderated Comment

  • Spam Comment

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.