The rebellion means Schumer is “trying to herd cats.”
We all know that millionaire Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) hates banks and the financial sector. The woman seethes about it at every opportunity.
Well, the idea of the government easing some some of the banking rules under Dodd-Frank has left her fuming. To make it worse for her SOME OF HER DEMOCRAT COLLEAGUES HAVE AGREED TO IT! For. Shame.
Needless to say, the rebellion has caused some headaches for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at a time the Democrats need unity.
A source told The Hill that Schumer has decided to stay neutral and quiet in meetings. The source described it as Schumer “trying to herd cats” and that he “hates seeing” such a divide within the caucus.
Politico reported Schumer invited Warren to his office for a chat:
Warren had just sent a fundraising email blasting fellow Democrats who supported the legislation, and Senate Democrats had just had an ugly caucus meeting at which the rift over the measure was laid bare. And now Schumer wanted to hear what was on the mind of one of his most prominent senators, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
“This is what I said I was going to do,” Warren told the Senate minority leader in a lengthy conversation last Wednesday, the person said. “This is why I ran for the Senate.”
Schumer didn’t tell Warren to stop attacking the bill or to dig in. But he urged her to focus her opposition on the bill’s policies — not individual Democratic senators, as her fundraising plea had done, said a second person briefed on the conversation. Still, Warren largely stuck to her hard-edged tactics in the days afterward, regularly lashing what she calls the “Bank Lobbyist Act” and those who support it.
Schumer is personally against the bill. The fighting has kept the minority leader uncharacteristically quiet. People have noticed that he hasn’t put a lot of effort into whipping votes for or against it. Instead he has private conversations with his fellow Democrats:
“It’s a painful and challenging issue for him,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Schumer’s deputy. “Chuck has done this as well as he could. This is really the first time since he’s been Democratic leader that there’s been a significant split in the caucus. And it’s inevitable. It’s awkward.”
POLITICO first inquired about Schumer’s position on the legislation in November, as the bill was changing and winding through committee. Finally, in March he came out in opposition to the bill as it came to the floor. People who speak frequently with Schumer argue that he’s always been in a no-win situation and that trying to derail it now would serve only to trample on what might be his moderate members’ signature bipartisan law in an election year.
The minority leader has essentially been playing to both sides of the banking debate, caught between competing factions of his caucus and seemingly unable to head off the warring Democrats, according to interviews with more than a dozen Democratic senators of all ideological stripes.
Warren upset those senators she named in the fundraising emails and the cracks may work against the party in the future:
“It could have political significance because it reveals the divide between progressives and centrists within the Democratic Party, and that’s something that’s a looming gap for Democrats and is likely to pop up in the next presidential campaign,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
Democrat Senators in ten states that Trump run face re-election in November and some of them have sided with the GOP on the bill.
Senate Banking Committee member John Tester (D-MT) has given his support of the bill. He also pointed out that the reforms from 2010 has caused “banks in his largely rural state” to go out of business. Tester said these banks didn’t cause the 2008 financial crisis yet they faced punishment and heavy regulations.
Other moderate Democrat senators that join Tester include Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Donnelly (IN). All three face re-election in November. All three come from states that chose President Donald Trump over failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
All three worked with Banking Committee Chairman Mark Crapo (R-ID) to craft this bill.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (R-MA), who authored the Dodd-Frank bill, said that he’d rather have these three senators “vote for the legislation and get reelected in November than vote against it and lose.” He believes if they lose re-election than the people will “get a much worse bill.”
Failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and his colleague Mark Warner (D-VA) also support the bill even though they helped put together Dodd-Frank.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), another senator who has an election in November, described “her frustration at liberals for attacking fellow Democrats on the banking bill.” Trump won Missouri by 19 points.
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