Minutes after the Wall Street reform bill passed, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called for its repeal, saying the legislation penalizes Main Street bankers for the crimes of a few on Wall Street.
"I think it ought to be repealed," Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference Thursday. "I think the financial reform bill is ill-conceived. I think it's going to make credit harder for the American people to get -- clearly harder for businesses to get. And the fact that it's going to punish every banker in America for the sins of a few on Wall Street, I think is unwise. On top of that, I think that it institutionalizes "Too Big To Fail" and gives far too much authority to federal bureaucrats to bail out any company in America they decide ought be bailed out."
Boehner ran through some common Republican talking points, slamming the administration and the financial reform package and ending with a tribute to the virtues of transparency.
"There are common sense things that we should do to plug the holes in the regulatory system that were there, and to bring more transparency to financial transactions," he said.
Eddie Vale, a spokesperson for the AFL-CIO, had a ready reply.
"First Boehner wants to take away working families health care benefits. Now he also wants to return Wall Street and the big banks back to the power they had when they destroyed our economy" said Vale in an email Thursday. "It could be no clearer for working families in 2010 that there is a clear choice between continuing to move forward to make the economy work for everyone again or go backwards to the Bush years where corporations and Wall Street ran wild."
As HuffPost reported yesterday, the Democrats see political advantages to pressing Republican lawmakers on whether they want to repeal Wall Street reform.
South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham called the bill a "missed opportunity" to control spending and set priorities. And Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was similarly underwhelmed, calling it "business as usual."
"No one can make a convincing argument that this legislation indeed prevents any institution from being "Too Big To Fail" -- you can't make that argument," he told reporters at the Capitol today. McCain's amendment, which would have mandated an end to government support of the failed companies within two years, failed 43 to 56.
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a top Republican player in the financial reform debate, slammed the Democrat-backed bill. "We've just passed another piece of legislation that I think is going to stifle job growth in this country. So look, I'm disappointed. We missed an opportunity. At the end of the day this bill is going to limit credit availability and cause that credit availability to be more expensive. I'm talking about for average Americans -- I'm not talking about major corporations. I'm talking about for the average American out there when they look at all the regulations that community bankers across this country are going to deal with.
One reporter noted that Corker had helped to craft the very legislation he condemned. While Corker acknowledged his role negotiating several provisions with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, he quickly pivoted back to his talking points.
"I have had an impact but at the end of the day let's face it...they miscalculated. I think that going into this they thought, 'We're going to create a bill that catches Wall Street and all the Americans are going to love us, and we're going to do it along partisan lines and Republicans aren't going to be involved and that's going to be great.' I think what Americans are looking for is the two parties in this country to be addressing the core issues that are affecting the country, and this bill doesn't do that and I think the administration has made a tremendous miscalculation."