WASHINGTON -- Some conservatives have acknowledged that they have ideologically more in common than they would like to admit with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) after the progressive senator led the charge against a provision in the $1.1 trillion government funding bill that weakens regulations on financial institutions.
The spending bill, which the Senate passed Saturday, included a Citigroup-written measure that would gut the Dodd-Frank Act's restrictions on banks that want to trade in the kinds of derivatives that sparked the financial crisis of 2008. The measure would allow the institutions access to taxpayer-backed insurance. In a speech from the Senate floor, Warren called on her colleagues to oppose what she called a "Wall Street giveaway" that could cause another financial disaster.
"Opposition to government bailouts of Wall Street is not a liberal or a conservative issue," Warren said. "The current law -- the one about to be repealed -- was put in place years ago, because after the 2008 financial collapse, people of all political persuasions were disgusted at the prospect of ever again having to use taxpayer dollars to rescue big banks from their own bad decisions."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also urged her caucus to vote against any funding deal that included language allowing banks to subsidize risky derivatives trading.
Though Warren and Pelosi's camps ultimately failed to wrest the provision from of the bill, their frustrations may be tinged with a certain amount of amusement over who's praising them in the wake of their fight. A number of conservative bloggers have recognized the Democrats' efforts, though they have couched their approval with caveats about how they support holding banks accountable, rather than increasing regulation.
"So help me God, I have no way to refute the basic point that the Democrats are making about the CRomnibus fight right now. In fact, I might even go so far as to say they are right," Red State's Leon Wolf wrote last week.
"Regardless of whether this is, in fact a boondoggle to Wall Street or not, it is fatally easy for the Democrats to portray it as such," Wolf continued. "When people hear 'roll back a part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 that limits the ability of big banks to trade certain financial instruments known as swaps -- contracts that allow the banks to hedge their risks or to speculate[,]' (I literally copied and pasted this description because again, my brain refuses to make itself care about the particulars) what they hear is 'blah blah blah allows Wall Street to speculate.' And what they know is, this is not what Republicans were sent to Washington to do."
"The end times are upon us," Dustin Siggins wrote at Hot Air. "I find myself in agreement with not just Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)."
At Townhall.com, Right Wing News' John Hawkins wrote, "I was even forced to agree with NANCY PELOSI and ELIZABETH WARREN (vomit) about the GOP’s omnibus bill decision to make it easier for big banks to gamble with derivatives and the sleazy campaign finance reform that was designed to undercut activist groups."
Some bloggers even said they could envision themselves voting for Warren were she to run for president in 2016 -- a possibility she has repeatedly denied.
"I hope that Sen. Warren will run for president in 2016 to force a national conversation on the Washington-Wall Street power nexus," The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote. "Hillary Clinton won’t talk about it. You know that no Republican presidential candidate will talk about it (with the possible -- possible -- exception of Rand Paul). We all need to be talking about it. A populist who talks like Elizabeth Warren and really means it is a Democrat a conservative like me would consider voting for, despite her social liberalism."
Though Red State's Erick Erickson wasn't opposed to the specific provision, he noted in a post titled "The GOP: For Wall Street, Not Main Street" that Warren had called out the Republican Party's congressional leadership for its hypocrisy on government shutdowns. Even radio host Laura Ingraham had positive things to say about Warren's message.
In the House, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who was one of only three Republicans to vote against a standalone version of the provision last year, explicitly identified the bill's Wall Street language as a reason for his opposition to the deal, calling it a "Wall Street subsidy." And in the Senate, David Vitter (R-La.) co-wrote a letter asking congressional leaders to reconsider the provision's inclusion.