Yesterday, Wall Street Reform made it out of conference. Think Progress has a nice little chart illustrating how the differences between the House and Senate bill were ironed out. Blanche Lincoln got her derivatives legislation passed through mostly unchanged with only some minor tweaking on the edge. Scott Brown got his loophole for the Volker rule pushed through, but as a trade off it looks like Levin and Merkley got an even stronger version of the rule affecting propriety trading. The Consumer Protection Area passed through safely, but ended up being housed in the Federal Reserve, unfortuneatly. It would have been better to see it as a strong, independent agency, but having one is better than nothing. The auto dealers however were able to buy an exemption from the agency’s oversite. So, overall, far from perfect and with a handfull of loopholes, but still better than nothing and worth passing I think.
I’m still looking for confirmation on whether or not Lincoln’s push to get the Walton’s bank exempted from regulation made it into law or not. So far, no confirmation is, to me, confirmation that it failed. However, if I’m wrong, then team Lincoln is going to have more reason not to like me than they already do. Although, just trying to get that passed was bad enough, and frankly just plain stupid. It did nothing but increase the distrust and loathing on Lincoln’s left flank that she’s made no active effort to patch up. But anyway, I’m getting off topic.
The bill now goes back to the House and Senate again for the final time. Marion Berry and Mike Ross both voted against it last time around. Can Lincoln use her new involvement with the bill to push them to vote yes this time around? And really, does Mike Ross want to vote for Wall Street robber barons in an election year? I know his opponent’s a joke, but seriously? In the Senate, Lincoln’s vote is assurred, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that Pryor is just a tool, so I’m pretty confident he’s not going to vote differently from Lincoln. And if Democrats manage to pass this, we’ll actually be at a point where we can say we’ve had a productive 111th Congress, even from a progressive standpoint. Think about it-the Lilly Ledbetter Act, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the SCHIP expansion, the new credit card regulations, health care reform, the Matthew Shephard Act…feels like I’m forgetting something. Anyway, add Wall Street Reform to that and we’ll have gotten a pretty good deal out of a Democratic Congress and President Obama. Sure, it hasn’t been perfect and there’s a lot to gripe about but contrary to popular belief things are getting done. And while it hasn’t been easy (and a lot of blame for that rests on the shoulders of conservadems like Lincoln and Ross) it was never going to be. We’ve been left with a huge mess by George Bush and the Republicans and we’re still nowhere near digging ourselves out. But yeah, there’s plenty of reason to be happy with what Congress and the President are doing now and plenty of reasons not to let either chamber go back to the Republicans. If it had been up to them, Wall Street Reform would never have happened. And if they make a comeback, then there’s plenty of awful things that will happen far worse than anything that might come out of a Democratically controlled Congress.