78 Democrats Vote to Weaken a Key Wall Street Regulation

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Today, the House voted to approve the Volcker Rule Regulation Harmonization Act, an innocuous name for a not-so-innocuous bill. The bill would weaken the Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from making speculative investments with regular people’s money (with exceptions), by exempting banks with less than $10 billion in assets. And, for reasons beyond imagination, 78 Democrats voted for it.

In January, 11 Senate Democrats joined Republicans to cosponsor a bill to raise the threshold for extra regulatory scrutiny for banks from $50 billion to $250 billion, which would have left fewer than 10 banks in the US subject to such scrutiny. That bill included provisions similar to today’s bill, exempting banks with under $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule.

The bill would also turn over sole regulatory authority on the Volcker Rule to the Federal Reserve instead of the FDIC, the agency that backs consumers’ deposits in banks (so you don’t lose money if your bank goes under), which would make it easier for the Trump administration to weaken the rule. Paul Volcker, the law’s namesake, criticized the provision in the Senate bill exempting smaller banks, saying “plausibly small loopholes can be ‘gamed’ and exploited with unfortunate consequences.” The chair of the FDIC also told the Wall Street Journal that exempting smaller banks would “open a door” to risky behavior. According to the paper, the chair “said supervisors typically catch risky trades after they go south, not before: ‘That is why you have the Volcker rule in the first place.’” Makes sense!


Lobbying disclosures show that banks like Citigroup and Bank of America, along with their representatives at the American Bankers Association, have been lobbying the House and Senate on the Volcker Rule in the last year.

Among the Democrats who voted to weaken the rule: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, friend to payday lenders; possible presidential candidate Seth Moulton; smokin’ hottie Beto O’Rourke, who’s currently running for Senate against Ted Cruz; and Kyrsten Sinema, who received more than $1 million from donors in the financial sector during the 2016 cycle.

Here’s the full list of Democrats who voted to weaken regulation on banks:

Alma Adams, NC-12

Pete Aguilar, CA-31

Nanette Barragán, CA-44

Joyce Beatty, OH-3

Ami Bera, CA-7

Donald Beyer, VA-8

Lisa Blunt Rochester, DE-1

Brendan Boyle, PA-13

Anthony Brown, MD-4

Julia Brownley, CA-26

G. K. Butterfield, NC-1

Salud Carbajal, CA-24

Tony Cárdenas, CA-29

Yvette D. Clarke, NY-9

William Lacy Clay, MO-1

Emanuel Cleaver II, MO-5

James E. Clyburn, SC-6

Gerald E. Connolly, VA-11

Jim Cooper, TN-5

J. Luis Correa, CA-46

Jim Costa, CA-16

Henry Cuellar, TX-28

Susan A. Davis, CA-53

John Delaney, MD-6

Suzan K. DelBene, WA-1

Elizabeth Esty, CT-5

Dwight Evans, PA-2

Bill Foster, IL-11

Marcia L. Fudge, OH-11

Vicente Gonzalez, TX-15

Josh Gottheimer, NJ-5

Gene Green, TX-29

Colleen Hanabusa, HI-1

Denny Heck, WA-10

Jim Himes, CT-4

Steny H. Hoyer, MD-5

Sheila Jackson Lee, TX-18

Hakeem Jeffries, NY-8

Hank Johnson, GA-4

Eddie Bernice Johnson, TX-30

Robin Kelly, IL-2

Derek Kilmer, WA-6

Ron Kind, WI-3

Ann McLane Kuster, NH-2

Conor Lamb, PA-18

Rick Larsen, WA-2

Brenda Lawrence, MI-14

Al Lawson, FL-5

Dave Loebsack, IA-2

Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM-1

Sean Patrick Maloney, NY-18

A. Donald McEachin, VA-4

Gregory W. Meeks, NY-5

Grace Meng, NY-6

Seth Moulton, MA-6

Stephanie Murphy, FL-7

Tom O’Halleran, AZ-1

Beto O’Rourke, TX-16

Jimmy Panetta, CA-20

Ed Perlmutter, CO-7

Scott Peters, CA-52

Collin C. Peterson, MN-7

Mike Quigley, IL-5

Kathleen Rice, NY-4

Cedric Richmond, LA-2

Jacky Rosen, NV-3

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, MD-2

Tim Ryan, OH-13

Brad Schneider, IL-10

Brad Sherman, CA-30

Kyrsten Sinema, AZ-9

Thomas Suozzi, NY-3

Bennie Thompson, MS-2

Juan Vargas, CA-51

Marc Veasey, TX-33

Filemon Vela, TX-34

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-23

Frederica Wilson, FL-24

It’s not exactly a surprise to see so many Democrats vote to weaken financial regulation given the party’s close relationship with Wall Street. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as politicians like Elizabeth Warren show. Every time a significant number of Democrats cast a vote like this, they chip away at the party’s opportunity to run on what would be an insanely popular platform: fuck Wall Street.