Yesterday, after blocking three votes, Republicans relented, and allowed public debate and amendments to proceed to the full Senate on Wall Street reform.
This happened without making any concessions on providing new consumer protection provisions, making any new exemptions on regulating derivatives to end the casino economy, or providing measures to break up failing banks.
How did this happen? Freshman Senators, elected on a wave of anti-Wall Street fervor in 2008, stood with the public, and kept up relentless pressure on behalf of Main Street. They refused to make concessions, kept forcing votes, and prevented the debate from staying behind closed doors. With the bright light of the national media shining on them, Republicans had no choice but to side with Main Street, and let the debate go forward.
Republicans will only cave if they are forced to choose, in front of the whole country, between Main Street and Wall Street. With eight millions jobs lost, millions of homes being foreclosed, and with the retirement savings of millions wiped out, it is simply too unpopular to defend Wall Street in public right now.
As debate moves forward, the worst thing that supporters of reform in the Senate can do now would be to weaken this bill or let us the pressure. We can pass new consumer protections. We can put an end to the casino economy. We can end too big to fail. But we have to do it soon, and we can only do it if we hold firm, keep up the pressure, and keep the bright lights shining on the Senate.
The Senate leadership did an excellent job getting this bill to the floor. Now, they need to keep up the pressure to pass the bill. Today, along with over 200 coalition partners, Americans for Financial Reform is delivering to the Senate leadership over 125,000 signatures of Americans who demand real reform of Wall Street. Coalition partners in San Francisco and Kansas City brought hundreds to protest against Wells Fargo. Over 2,000 rallied in Chicago and hundreds more in Charlotte at Bank of America. On Thursday, over 10,000 will be on Wall Street. We had 60 Main Street lobbyists--small business owners, clergy, consumers and others--come to Washington to provide their voice to the fight. We have calls going in to Members offices. We are encouraging people to MoveYourMoney from the big banks to community banks.