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Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee members Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democrats Who Don't Like Being Criticized By Elizabeth Warren, Say Progressives, Could Just Vote Against Big Bank Giveaways

"We suggest these Democratic colleagues check in on the messages they've been getting from their constituents," responded one progressive group. "Our guess is they sound a lot like Senator Warren."

Jake Johnson

"If Warren's colleagues didn't want to be criticized as Wall Street-owned hacks, then they could choose not to vote for legislation that enriches Wall Street."

That's what progressive writer and activist Jonathan Cohn had to say overnight as reports emerged that Democrats are upset at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over her criticism of their vote to advance a bill that would reward Wall Street and heighten the risk of another financial crisis.

According to CNN's Jake Tapper, Warren "really angered many of her Democratic Senate colleagues" by highlighting the names of the 16 Senate Democrats and one Democratic-leaning independent who voted to propel the "Bank Lobbyist Act" over a crucial procedural hurdle. A final vote on the measure (S.2155) is expected next week.

In a report published late Thursday, The Hill confirmed this widespread anger among Democrats, who—according to one anonymous aide—find it "disappointing" that Warren would go after members of her own party for backing a bill that analysts say would make it easier for banks to "hide racial discrimination in mortgages," significantly increase the risk of future taxpayer bailouts, and reward massive Wall Street firms like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

The Democratic aide also accused Warren of opportunistically attacking the deregulatory bill to "raise money for her campaign," highlighting an email Warren sent to supporters calling on them to circulate an image of the vote tally.

"Dems who vote to weaken one of the party's signature (albeit still insufficient) laws to restrain banks deserve every criticism leveled at them."
—Richard Yeselson, Dissent Magazine

Another anonymous aide quoted by The Hill repeated the trope—by now thoroughly debunked by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), journalists, and federal regulators—that the GOP-crafted measure would only provide "relief for community banks and credit unions across rural America."

Warren hasn't been shy about acknowledging the blowback that could result from criticizing members of her own party.

"Saying Democrats are helping to roll back rules on big banks doesn't make me the most popular kid on the team," Warren wrote in a Medium post on Thursday, adding that she has been "taking heat from fellow Democrats" since she called them out earlier this week. "But Massachusetts didn’t send me here to fight for big banks. The people of Massachusetts sent me here to fight for them."

Responding to growing anger at Warren for having the gall to highlight vote counts that are in the public record, progressives recommended a simple fix for Democrats: vote against the deregulatory bill.

Even a self-described "loyal" Democrat—Shareblue's Matthew Chapman—denounced the attacks on Warren, called the deregulatory bill "shit," and concluded, "if Democrats don't like being criticized for supporting it, they can vote no."


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