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TOWS Press Release: Leading Members of Congress Propose An Agenda to Take on Wall Street

Submitted by on July 19, 2017 – 12:39 pm
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CONTACT:

Carter Dougherty
carter@ourfinancialsecurity.org
(202) 869-0397

On Seventh Anniversary of Dodd-Frank Act,

Lawmakers seek action to build a financial system that works for all of us

 

It’s time for a vibrant debate about how to press ahead with Wall Street reform.

Seven years ago this week the Dodd Frank act was signed into law, setting in motion measures to protect consumers and make the financial system more stable. Unfortunately, some lawmakers wish to turn back the clock and undo these reforms, and we are stepping up the fight to stop them. But the important work of defending Dodd-Frank must not be the end of the story. We need to do more to build a financial system that works for most Americans, not against them.

Leaders from both the House and the Senate say it’s time to go further by passing new laws to address the predatory economic power of Wall Street banks and billionaires, and make the financial system work for working people, not just the wealthy and the well-connected.

“Wall Street has turned the American economy, the workers and companies that actually create wealth and contribute to the country’s well-being, into its financial plaything,” said Luísa Galvão, coordinator of the Take on Wall Street campaign. “We need to restore our financial system to its proper function: enabling an economy that works for all Americans.”

The members are announcing their leadership on various key ingredients of the Take On Wall Street agenda including enacting a 21st Century Glass-Steagall firewall between commercial and investment banking, closing Wall Street tax loopholes on carried interest and CEO bonuses, passing a tax on financial transactions to help pay for college affordability and other investments to help working families, and addressing the revolving door between Wall Street and government by prohibiting golden parachute pay packages for financial industry employees who go into government.

“Right now, Wall Street, big banks and corporate lobbyists are calling the shots in Washington and writing the rules,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “By stopping the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington and putting an end to golden parachute payouts, we can combat the conflicts of interest that make a rigged system in Washington even worse. And if we close the carried interest tax loophole for hedge fund managers, we can invest in greater economic growth and raise the incomes of working families. It’s time to take action on real reforms to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

“Lots of people say they care about free-markets and don’t like corporate welfare. If that’s the case, then they should agree that American taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot any part of the bill for a big CEO’s multimillion-dollar bonus,” said Senator Jack Reed. “The Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act puts an end to this multi-billion dollar federal give-away and will help restore fairness to the tax code and ensure corporations, not taxpayers, are the ones who pay their executives’ multi-million dollar bonuses.”

“One of the major reasons why the middle class is collapsing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider is because of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street.  If we are serious about reforming our financial system, we have got to establish a tax on Wall Street speculators.  Not only would this tax discourage reckless gambling on Wall Street and encourage investments in the job creating productive economy, it would raise the revenue we need to make public colleges and universities tuition free for working families.  I am proud to have introduced the Inclusive Prosperity Act with Congressman Keith Ellison to do exactly that.” Senator Bernie Sanders

“Despite the progress since 2008, the biggest banks continue to threaten our economy,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “For fifty years, the original Glass-Steagall Act helped produce broad-based economic growth and avoid any major financial crisis. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act will re-establish the wall between commercial and investment banking and make our financial system more stable and secure. Reinstating Glass-Steagall has broad bipartisan support, and it’s time to get it done.”   

“Restoring Glass-Steagall will help bring an end to “Too Big To Fail” by making large financial institutions smaller and preventing institutions that use federal depository insurance from engaging in high risk activities. We know that the repeal of Glass-Steagall played a role in the 2008 financial crisis. It could happen again and to prevent that, Congress must act to rebuild the wall that protected depository banks from investment banks for decades. I’m proud to join my colleagues in standing up for a financial system that serves all Americans, not just the largest financial institutions and the wealthiest among us.” Representative Michael Capuano

“Dodd-Frank has made the financial system safer for Americans, but it’s under attack by Republicans and the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.  Instead of voting on bills to roll back Dodd-Frank, Congress should be voting on laws that would strengthen our financial system.  I call on Speaker Paul Ryan to bring my Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act to the House floor so we can close that revolving door and make Wall Street work for everyone.” Representative Elijah Cummings

“In 2008, Wall Street’s criminal behavior drove the economy into the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, creating the grossly unbalanced playing field that is our economy today,” said  Representative Peter DeFazio. “To this day, no Wall Street executive has seen jail time for the national catastrophe they created. Instead, Wall Street executives are being rewarded with powerful jobs in the Trump administration. Even worse, the CHOICE Act removes the watchdog from Wall Street, opening up the gates to allow recklessness and greed once again at the expense of working Americans. We need stronger, not weaker, financial reforms, which is why  I’m taking on reckless Wall Street trading with my ‘Putting Main Street FIRST Act,’ legislation to discourage speculative trading by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on stock, bond, and derivative trades.” 

“Our tax code has a perverse incentive for companies: the more you pay your executives, the less you’ll pay in taxes. It is wrong to compel working families and small businesses to foot part of the bill for lavish executive bonuses. This bill lets companies like Wells Fargo know that they can choose to hand their CEO $155 million as they pay billions in penalties for wrongdoing, but don’t expect the American taxpayer to pick up part of the tab. I stand with my colleagues calling for a tax system that is fair, and a financial system that serves working families and small businesses, not the enrichment of Wall Street billionaires.” Representative Lloyd Doggett

“America’s working families need their country to invest in them again,” Representative Keith Ellison said. “The money raised from a wafer-thin tax on Wall Street’s high frequency trades could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in our families, protect our environment and increase opportunity for all Americans. If the United States joins the dozens of other nations already benefitting from a financial transaction tax, we can create millions of jobs, while also reducing dangerous market volatility.”

“The 2008 crash nearly took down our entire economy and led to the great recession which wiped out average Americans’ income. But now, Democrats and Republicans have memorialized support for Glass-Steagall in their respective political platforms. Even President Trump has declared support for a new Glass-Steagall law,” said Representative Marcy Kaptur. “That is why I introduced the Return to Prudent Banking Act this Congress, to build on the momentum and the movement to reinstate Glass-Steagall now. Along with my colleagues, I am committed to putting Main Street over Wall Street special interests, and fighting for a fair and stable financial system.”

 

Current Take on Wall Street legislative priorities include:

  • Closing the carried interest loophole which allows billionaire Wall Street money managers to pay lower tax rates than nurses or construction workers;
  • Carried Interest Fairness Act of 2017 – H.R. 2295
  • Creating a Wall Street speculation tax that would discourage short-term bets that destabilize markets and generate billions in new revenue for services our communities need;
  • Inclusive Prosperity Act – H.R. 1144
  • Putting Main Street FIRST: Finishing Irresponsible Reckless Speculative Trading Act – H.R. 2306
  • Inclusive Prosperity Act – S. 805
  • Ending “Too Big to Fail” by breaking up the Wall Street mega banks, and separating “boring” depository banking from risky investment banking – making them smaller, simpler, and safer.
  • Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017 – H.R. 790
  • 21st Century Glass Steagall Act – H.R. 2585
  • 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act: S. 881
  • Closing the CEO Bonus loophole, which allows corporations to deduct CEO salaries above 1 million dollars from their taxable-income;
  • Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act – H.R. 399
  • Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act – S. 82
  • Combating conflicts of interest by ending “golden parachute” payouts and the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.
  • Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act – H.R. 859
  • Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act – S. 265

 

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