Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

Blasting #BankLobbyistAct, Warren Unveils "The Ending Too Big to Jail Act" to Fight Wall Street Greed

"Congress should be marking the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis by strengthening rules on banks and bankers so Wall Street can never again get away with cheating Americans and crashing the economy"

Andrea Germanos

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, seen here on November 28, 2017. On Wednesday she unveiled the "Ending Too Big to Jail Act." (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

With the Senate voting on a Wall Street deregulation bill as early as Wednesday evening, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) marked today's 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis by unveiling new legislation that—in contrast to the "Bank Lobbyist Act"—aims to curb the fraud and greed of large financial institutions.

"The fraud on Wall Street won't stop until executives know they will be hauled out in handcuffs for cheating their customers and clients." —Sen. Elizabeth Warren"When Wall Street CEOs break the law, they should go to jail like anyone else. The fraud on Wall Street won't stop until executives know they will be hauled out in handcuffs for cheating their customers and clients," Warren declared in a statement.

Entitled "The Ending Too Big to Jail Act," the legislation (pdf) calls for three major changes to address the problem of financial executives not being held criminally responsible for the 2008 crisis. A fact-sheet laying out the proposals explains how they would:

  • Make the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) the Special Inspector General for Financial Institution Crime (SIGFIC), recognizing SIGTARP's "specialized skills and expertise";
  • Require accountability from executives at institutions of $10 billion more in assets by having them certify annually that they have conducted due diligence and found no criminal conduct or civil fraud within their institution;
  • Require judicial oversight of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) between financial institutions and the Justice Department.

Instead of passing the Bank Lobbyist Act, formally known as S. 2155, Warren said that "Congress should be marking the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis by strengthening rules on banks and bankers so Wall Street can never again get away with cheating Americans and crashing the economy."

Warren has been a vocal opponent of the deregulation bill—which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found would be a massive gift to some of the same Wall Street banks that led to the 2008 crash—and has also spoken out against her Democratic colleagues that are backing it.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Warren said that S. 2155 not only increases the chance for another financial meltdown, it has "landmines for American families." If it passes, she argued, the bill "guts protections for families that buy traditional and mobile homes and undermines our ability to enforce civil rights laws. And for what? So that banks that are already making record profits can tack on a little more to their bottom line?"

"If the Senate is going to spend two weeks dealing with the big banks, we should be making the rules tougher, not weaker. Today, I introduced the Ending Too Big to Jail Act, which would help make sure big bank executives are hauled out of their corner offices in handcuffs the next time they break the law," she continued. "That would do more for America's working families than anything in this bill—and I'm going to fight to make it the law."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Biden Urged to Embrace Windfall Tax as Exxon Says Profits Doubled in Second Quarter

"It's time for the president to demand that Congress pass a windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the revenue to provide rebates to consumers NOW!" wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo