So, a Showdown in the Senate is officially on. The question is, who's winning? Yesterday Republicans succeeded in blocking a vote to begin debate on a Wall Street reform bill. Democrats lost a vote, but may have won in doing so. Meanwhile the American people are still facing a tidal wave of foreclosures, cresting unemployment, and state budget shortfalls that mean cuts in jobs and services when we most need jobs and services.
Democrats are scoring some needed political points by adopting an anti-Wall Street stance. According to a Washington Post report, two-thirds of all Americans support stricter reform of Wall Street. Republicans appear to be scoring financial points, building a big bank war chest for the 2010 elections. And, two years since the bailouts began, the American people have seen absolutely no reform of Wall Street.
That said, bad reform is worse than no reform. Though Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd's financial reform bill trends in the right direction, it needs to get stronger, not weaker, moving forward. A critical improvement would be approval of the Brown-Kaufman amendment that would break up the megabanks that have grown so enormous that they pose incredible risk to our entire economy.
With the big banks spending millions to block this and other reforms, the only way average Americans can change the score is by moving to action. That's exactly what thousands of people from coast to coast are doing this week. Retirees and workers, family farmers and veterans, homeowners and renters will join together to take the fight directly to the big banks that created the foreclosure crisis, sank the economy, and are now trying to block financial reform. Starting today in San Francisco and Kansas City, then to the South, culminating in a Showdown on Wall Street on April 29. Everyday Americans will challenge both parties to fight for real Wall Street reform.
The message to Senate Democrats will be clear: Now is not the time for compromise. Do not weaken reform in an effort to appease your Republican colleagues, or to appease Wall Street. Elected officials from both parties have compromised (if not co-conspired) with Wall Street for too long, and we're all paying the price for it. With a grassroots movement to hold banks accountable gaining steam, now is the time to stand strong for real Wall Street reform and put a victory in the America's people column. Those senators with the guts to go the extra mile with a vote to break up the big banks just might be rewarded by the American people this November.
For more information on the Showdowns in America happening in San Francisco, Kansas City, Charlotte, N.C., New York City and Washington, D.C., go to www.showdowninamerica.org.