What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Securities/Brokerage Industry : (H.R. 26) On an amendment that would have stripped the underlying terrorism-insurance bill of an unrelated provision weakening regulation of financial markets (2015 senate Roll Call 1)
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(H.R. 26) On an amendment that would have stripped the underlying terrorism-insurance bill of an unrelated provision weakening regulation of financial markets
senate Roll Call 1     Jan 08, 2015
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment that would have stripped the underlying terrorism-insurance bill of an unrelated provision weakening regulation of financial markets.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill reauthorizing the U.S. terrorism risk insurance program (TRIA). The underlying bill dealt mainly with managing risk for large-scale construction projects, and had little to do with the oversight of financial markets. However, House Republicans had added a provision that rolled back a piece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that Congress passed in 2010. The Dodd-Frank law had given federal regulators oversight of the trading of financial assets known as “derivatives.” The provision added by Republicans sought to remove many companies – especially those that were not banks – from federal regulators’ oversight.

Sen. Warren’s amendment would have deleted the Republicans’ provision, thus preserving the authority given to federal regulators under the Dodd-Frank bill.

Sen. Warren argued that the effort to undermine federal regulations was a bad omen for the American economy. Progressive groups had fought hard to get meaningful financial reform after Wall Street created the financial crisis of 2008, she said, and lawmakers should not allow House Republicans to use an unrelated bill to roll back that progress.

“If Republicans want to try to roll back financial reforms, let's have that debate on the merits of each proposal,” Sen. Warren said. “But we cannot have that debate if we permit Republicans to attach financial reform rollbacks to must-pass pieces of legislation such as government funding bills and the TRIA reauthorization bill.”

Opponents of Sen. Warren’s amendment argued that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress had been too aggressive in regulating the financial industry. Federal regulators did not need oversight over “Main Street” businesses such as farms and small businesses that use derivatives to manage their risk, they argued. The extra provision in the underlying terrorism-insurance bill would roll back those overzealous regulations and give relief to the business community, they argued. 

“These are organizations that are trying to manage their own economic risk in their businesses. This is not Wall Street. This is Main Street,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) said. “(The provision in the underlying terrorism-insurance bill) would allow them to keep their limited funds and capital in play for their use for investment, growth, and for expansion and job development in our economy.” 

The Senate defeated Sen. Warren’s amendment by a vote of 31-66. Voting “yea” were 31 Democrats, including a majority of progressives. Voting “nay” were 53 Republicans and 13 Democrats. As a result, the Senate moved forward with a bill that would roll back some of federal regulators’ authority to oversee the trading of financial assets known as “derivatives.”

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