Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shut It Down!

The House and Senate is trying to finalize a $1.1 trillion stopgap spending bill in its lame-duck session to keep the government operating. Among its provisions are making it impossible for the District of Columbia to fund marijuana legalization, diverting money from antipoverty programs to the military, cutting money for the Environmental Protection Agency, and diverting $303 million from the Pell Grant program to give businesses that collect monthly payments from people with student loans.  That gem of an idea came from retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA),  and it's such a wrongheaded idea you'd have thought Joni Enrst, who takes over Harkin's seat in January, would have come up with it first.
But the most egregiously dumb idea is an amendment thrown in to nullify part of the Dodd-Frank Act (which is aimed at banking reform) and thus allow banks engage in speculative derivatives trading, the same sort of crap that allowed the big banks to cause the financial crisis of 2008.  "The financial industry," Karli Thompson of the liberal activist group Democracy For America reports, "couldn't be more excited to ram this through Congress under the guise of a spending bill -- in fact, Citigroup lobbyists actually 're-drafted' this bit of the legislation themselves, wording it to maximize their potential financial windfall."
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who became the only plausible challenger to Hillary Clinton's bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination after all of those Democratic "rising stars" burned out in the midterms, is urging that this bill be defeated.  Yes.  Defeat  it.  Let the government shut down again.  It's time to break the hold big business has on Washington once and for all.  Unfortunately, another government shutdown won't do that.  But it's a start. 

1 comment:

Steve said...

Update: The House passed the bill, but it's still has to pass the Seante. It will.