I am a bit of a geek. I spent part of the afternoon watching C-SPAN2, which for those who don’t know is where you find the coverage of the Senate. I would watch it much more, but I don’t have TV at home and I can only watch it on the rare occasion that someone invites me over to their house (and maybe the fact that I watch C-Span and Gavel to Gavel at my friends’ houses explains the lack of invites). I have the app on my phone, and even went to buy a new pair of headphones so I would be able to hear the hours of health care debate last month.
Today I tuned in to listen to the vote that would allow the financial reform package to be talked about in the Senate. It was not a vote on a bill, or a vote on amendments. It was simply to allow the Senate to begin talking about a bill. After weeks of closed door meetings with Wall Street executives the leaders of the Republican Party decided that they would just say no to financial reform. I have read that they are hoping shutting it down completely will make the Democrats who control the Senate to give in and compromise like they do on just about everything else.
It’s time for the Democratic Party to prove they have a spine. This is an opportunity for the Democrats to win over a large chunk of mainstream Americans. We are all sick of Wall Street taking precedent over Main Street, and the GOP proved beyond a shadow of a doubt who they are working for today. This is an issue that could even confuse the Teabaggers, if the reality of what happened can get to them somehow. The problem, like always is going to be getting the message out. The same corporate interests that control the GOP control the mainstream media. I’ve heard it already today on CNN and ABC news on the radio, “The Democratic reform package is a loser.”
Immediately after the vote Alaska’s Senator Mark Begich gave an amazing and seemingly impromptu (although it was rehearsed a bit on The Shannyn Moore Show before the vote) speech on the floor. In it he said:
It’s absolutely outrageous that almost half of my colleagues have blocked the opportunity for us to have debate and ultimately vote on the Wall Street reform legislation. They continue to protect their rich friends on Wall Street and in the banking world rather than protect the hardworking taxpayers who pay bills and try to save money every day.
Those blocking debate of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for the missed opportunity to hold Wall Street accountable. We should, at a minimum, have the chance to discuss ways to make sure the reckless and risky investments that cost Americans billions of dollars and millions of jobs doesn’t happen again.
I came to Washington to discuss issues and legislation out in the open, not to hide behind closed doors and work secret deals behind the public’s back. I’m disappointed and I know Alaskans are disappointed we don’t get to move forward on banking and financial reform.
I will continue to work on legislation that provides jobs for Alaskans and other Americans. And I hope those who are still on the side of mega-banks gambling at the expense of consumers will recognize the disservice they are doing to our country.
Thank you Senator Begich for working for Americans on this. The Republicans may have seriously miscalculated their strategy on this one. I think that we have an opportunity to show America who is really working for them, and who is working for the super rich. Regular people would be angry about this if they had any idea what happened. They are not going to get the story from the mainstream media, so it is our job to tell them. We have the chance to gain support on a grassroots level for real financial reform. And if the Democrats in the congress can take this opportunity to pass real reform and not kowtow to the standard tactics of the party of no, they can prove to regular Joes that they are the party of the people.