FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 12, 2018
Carter Dougherty, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 251-6700
AFR Voting Record Highlights Wall Street Influence in Congress
Americans for Financial Reform today released a new compilation of votes in the 115th Congress around financial reform that makes Wall Street’s success in driving its deregulatory agenda starkly visible. Ten years after the financial crisis, a majority of members of Congress have voted again and again for bills pushed by the bank lobby that are dangerous for our financial stability, undermine consumer and investor protections, and enable racial discrimination in lending.
The report, entitled “Where They Stand on Financial Reform,” lays out how each lawmaker voted in such crucial areas affecting Wall Street and the lending industry. It also groups those members of Congress who most frequently voted with Wall Street or predatory lenders, and against the public interest.
“Overall, we see a persistent pattern of a majority of members of Congress voting for measures that benefit Wall Street and predatory lenders over consumers and investors,” said Rion Dennis, Financial Reform Advocate at AFR. “Because there was also significant resistance, and because of the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, many of these measures passed in the House, but not the Senate. But when some Democrats joined the solid block of Republicans – or where only 50 votes were required – dangerous deregulation became law.”
In the House of Representatives:
- 195 members (all Republicans) voted to advance every deregulatory bill included in this report
- 43 members (all Republicans) voted to advance more than 90 percent of the deregulatory bills
- 9 members (7 Republicans, 2 Democrats) voted to advance 75 to 90 percent of the measures
- 13 members (all Democrats) voted to advance 50 to 75 percent of the bills
In the Senate, 43 senators (all Republicans) did not vote against any of the 12 deregulatory bills or bad nominees, nor did Vice President Pence in the 2 votes he cast. And 12 senators (10 Republicans, 2 Democrats) voted to advance more than 50 percent of bills or nominees covered in this report.
The 115th Congress voted on nearly 100 bad bills and (in the Senate) confirmed nominees with records of working against the public interest, and often directly for banks. Two major measures, a massive tax-cut bill — whose top beneficiaries where the biggest banks in the country, with scandal-ridden Wells Fargo seeing the largest windfall — and a major rollback (S. 2155) of parts of the Dodd-Frank Act, became law.
Congress also used the Congressional Review Act to overturned two actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one that curbed racial discrimination in auto lending, and another that restored consumers’ ability to band together in lawsuits to hold financial companies accountable if they break the law.
The voting record can be read as a companion to AFR’s research on Wall Street money in politics – which will outstrip $2 billion this election cycle – and its public opinion surveys, which demonstrates strong support for financial regulation.
“Wall Street injects massive amounts of money into the political process, and as a result they continue to exert a dangerously dominant influence in shaping important economic policy decisions,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of AFR. “The consequence is vote after vote that benefits Wall Street and predatory lenders, and perpetuates racial discrimination, all of which makes life harder and less secure for most Americans.”