The speech that may make Elizabeth Warren president

Elizabeth Warren gave quite a speech on Friday night after the US Senate passed a trillion dollar spending bill that repeals a key part of the Dodd-Frank law, and lets billionaires donate even more money to political parties.

They also blocked marijuana legalization in DC, and blocked new rules to limit sodium in school lunches because, well, you can guess why — someone bought off some Senators.

Interestingly, much of the reporting on this doesn’t actually tell you what any of the amendments actualy do. I was able to find some of what we’re looking for in The Hill:

The bill includes language repealing part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that will allow banks covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to directly engage in derivatives trading.

elizabeth-warren-doddThis set off the biggest political storm for the legislation, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a liberal insurrection against the White House, which decided not to fight Republicans over the measure.

Wall Street lobbied for the change, and the bill will be sent to Obama with the language in it.

Campaign finance

The bill also raises the limits on what people can give to political committees each year, greatly increasing the money wealthy people can donate. The provision would allow a wealthy donor to contribute a total of more than $1.55 million to a national party.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lambasted the change in a floor speech in which she broke with the White House over the bill.

DC marijuana

The bill prevents Washington, D.C., from implementing a new referendum that legalizes recreational use of marijuana.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton complained that it was another example of Congress stepping on local rule, but she won few allies for her position in Congress.

Warren’s speech particularly took on the Dodd-Frank repeal, and the fact that taxpayers will now be on the hook for more bailouts in the future. Here’s the video of Warren, and below that is some of the transcript thanks to HuffPo.

Here are some of the key parts of Warren’s speech:

Democrats don’t like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don’t like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts.

And yet here we are, five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again…

So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi[group]. I agree with you Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces!

If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead, then let’s open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities. If we’re going to open up Dodd-Frank, let’s open it up so that once and for all we end too big to fail and I mean really end it, not just say that we did.

Instead of passing laws that create new bailout opportunities for too big to fail banks, let’s pass…something…that would help break up these giant banks.

A century ago Teddy Roosevelt was America’s Trust-Buster. He went after the giant trusts and monopolies in this country, and a lot of people talk about how those trust deserved to be broken up because they had too much economic power. But Teddy Roosevelt said we should break them up because they had too much political power. Teddy Roosevelt said break them up because all that concentrated power threatens the very foundations up our democratic system.

And now we’re watching as Congress passes yet another provision that was written by lobbyists for the biggest recipient of bailout money in the history of this country. And its attached to a bill that needs to pass or else we entire federal government will grind to a halt.

Think about that kind of power. If a financial institution has become so big and so powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage. That alone is reason enough to break them up.

Enough is enough.

Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism that we have seen in the executive branch. Enough is enough with Citigroup passing 11th hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but everybody will come to regret. Enough is enough Washington already works really well for the billionaires and the big corporations and the lawyers and the lobbyists.

But what about the families who lost their homes or their jobs or their retirement savings the last time Citigroup bet big on derivatives and lost? What about the families who are living paycheck to paycheck and saw their tax dollars go to bail out Citi just 6 years ago?

We were sent here to fight for those families. It is time, it is past time, for Washington to start working for them!

You can donate to Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign here.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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52 Responses to “The speech that may make Elizabeth Warren president”

  1. FLL says:

    Hear, hear.

  2. Naja pallida says:

    No matter how people want to twist it, or complain about Elizabeth Warren not being progressive enough, there is absolutely no one outside of the far right-wing nut-o-sphere who is as dumb, irresponsible, and completely incapable of understanding the detrimental impact of their own actions as Ted Cruz. The man is a deaf, dumb and blind moose in a china shop, and doesn’t care what harm he does as long as he has legions of useful idiots cheering him on, and plenty of corporate money lining his pockets.

  3. Naja pallida says:

    Ever notice that any single Republican Senator can indefinitely block anything they want from moving in the Senate, but no Democratic Senator is capable of so much as farting alone? Lofty speechifying means precisely nothing if they don’t actually have the courage of their convictions, and use the tools available to every Senator. In the end, the reason this latest betrayal passed the Senate, is because people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders let it pass. Not nearly as bad as those people who actually voted for it, but it still makes them utterly useless, and not really working in the best interests of the country no matter how much they want it to seem so.

  4. mark_in_toronto says:

    In other words . . . the Repubs were able to block or attach almost everything they wanted in this budget and nobody had the balls to stop it and Obama doesn’t have to balls to veto it.

    Congratulations . . . you will be able to keep the status quo and not only will nothing change, but the plutocracy will gain even more strength.

    Yes . . . you will continue to have the occasional moving, thought-provoking speeches like this one. But, that’s all they will be . . . speeches.

    Wall Street and the big banks have (once again with this bill) amassed even more power to truly become “Too Big to Fail.”

  5. UncleBucky says:

    Right: Citi and all the others IN PIECES. And then the perps in prison, I’d say. Y’all? ;o)

  6. Thom Allen says:

    Did you suddenly decide that you’re NOT in LOVE with Putin anymore?

  7. Cherry Zhang says:

    Elizabeth Warren is right.

    How many trillions did ordinary Americans lose in the 2008 crash? How many jobs? How many homes? How many 401Ks turned into 201Ks?

    But Wall St. execs did fine….didn’t they? As did the Congressmen they bought. All so the rich can get obscenely richer betting on exotic financial instruments that have nothing to do with the production of goods or value.

    I, myself, have been struggling. I’m employed (temp work) but can’t afford health insurance (now up to $500/month). I don’t drive much either cause I can’t afford gas. My $24/month car insurance from Insurance Panda (god bless it) or my $11/month renters from Eagle might not be the best coverage, but its all I can afford! I cut cable and internet and I haven’t been out to eat or to the movies in god knows how long.

    We need to seriously re-think America and our economy. Excessive regulation, lawsuits, billion dollar fines by the government, gigantic health care payments, no growth policies like no keystone pipeline, and millions of illegal immigrants aren’t going to be the answer!

    While I don’t agree with Warren on everything, braking up the banks is long overdue. I hope she succeeds!

  8. FLL says:

    Excerpt 1 is simply Bill’s overwrought opinion: “Warren is just another Democrat, a candidate who pretends to be a centrist but who in reality is a rightist moving right.”

    Excerpt 2 begins with a contradiction since it ignores the fact that Warren is leading the charge against what Bill is complaining about in excerpt 2: “The House and Senate votes are antoher demonstration that Democrats and Republicans have joined together to further deregulate the banksters and make it much easier for them to increase their attacks on workers and consumers.”

    In fact, other than the statement of opinion in the very first sentence, Bill doesn’t even mention Warren in the rest of his lengthy comment, a lengthy comment which offers zero supporting detail for the topic sentence at the beginning. This is writing?! Go back to Composition Level 1.

  9. FLL says:

    I’m sure there are any number of journalists who wouldn’t define Warren as the liberal equivalent of Cruz. As Warren’s primary challenge gathers steam, I’ll to note them. I’m sure you can too, but it’s still a little early.

  10. I’ve written a follow-on piece.

    Is Elizabeth Warren ready to be president?


    I’ve tended to sit back and watch while my liberal brethren bashed Washington — and ancillarily (if that’s a word; if not, I’ve just made it one) the media. But in retrospect, I worry it’s been a mistake. All we accomplished was a furthering of two (or more) key Republican talking points: that Washington — and all government — stinks; and that the media “elites” can’t be trusted. As a result, we handed responsibility for arbitrating the “truth” over to Fox News, and we reinforced the GOP message that government is worthless and should be defunded.

    When my peers question “beltway experience,” I ask them how well they think the local 7-11 manager in Topeka would do with Lehman Brothers’ demise and the ensuing near-meltdown of the entire global financial system.

    While I find the idea quaint of Mr. Smith going to Washington, I would never choose an inexperienced, but earnest, man to be my doctor, lawyer, mechanic, or even dog sitter. There’s something to be said for experience in any field. And while in some people experience can jade, in others it hones.

    I don’t know if Elizabeth Warren has what it takes to be a good president. But I think it’s worth asking if “outsiders” make the best presidents. As someone who cares fervently about civil rights, I think President Obama has done a stellar job on the issues I care most about. But I also recognize (and believe) that some of what made the path to victory so difficult these past several years was an Oval Office learning curve that, say, Governor Obama would have never needed to surmount.

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    That seems to be an easy way for you to avoid addressing the question of why increasing number of people think of the Democrats (and Republicans as the enemies of working people). I’m glad however that you do becasue what comes next will totally demoraize you. More economic chaos and more defeats for Democrats and Republicans.

  12. Bill_Perdue says:

    I kind of prefer ‘Dimocrats’ or ‘Demorats’ and for the other right wing party ‘Reptilians’. Not that there are any differences of note between the two, but it is a good thiong to express contempt for both parties in Congress who just created the next economic collapse and for the WH rightwinger who’ll happily sign it because it’s always been his agenda.

    “The truth of the matter is that my policies
    are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the
    1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.” Obama, in an
    interview with Noticias Univision 23. ABC News, 12 15 2012

    Obama, as a candidate, promised Hope and Change. What a crock
    Once in office, Obama chose:

    – three successive White House chiefs of staff who’d made fortunes in the financial industry: Rahm Emanuel (amassed $16 million within a couple years of exiting the Clinton White House), William Daley (JPMorgan Chase) and Jacob Lew (Citigroup/now U.S. Treasury Secretary).

    Wall Streeters to dominate his economic team, including Clintonites like Larry Summers as chief economic advisor and Peter Orszag as budget director.

    – Monsanto executives and lobbyists for influential food and agriculture posts.

    – a corporate healthcare executive to preside over
    healthcare “reform,” while allowing pharmaceutical lobbyists to obstruct cost

    – an industry-connected nuclear power and fracking enthusiast as Secretary of Energy.

    – two successive chairs of the Federal Communications Commission who’ve largely served corporate interests, including former lobbyist Tom Wheeler now undermining Net Neutrality.”

  13. 2karmanot says:

    Nothing? Think of it as intramural sports dear ckg1.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    As the Koch brothers would say: ‘tongue in check.’

  15. 2karmanot says:

    Amen to that!

  16. 2karmanot says:

    If Bill had typed ‘damnocrates’ I would have given him an extra ‘like.’

  17. Indigo says:

    I take it that way too. But after all . . . it’s Bill_Perdue. He does that.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    The belief that elections change things is a delusion. Clinton gave us DADT, DOMA, NAFTA, deregulation and the collapse of 2007. So maybe I should amend my comment to say that elecions of Democrats and Republicans do change thng, but for the worse.

  19. FLL says:

    (1) “Elections don’t change things. Pretending that they do is a delusion.”

    (2) “Warren is just another Democrat, a candidate who pretends to be a centrist but who in reality is a rightist moving right.”

    If elections don’t change things, then why the nonstop invective against voting for any Democratic candidate? If elections don’t change things, then the writer shouldn’t even want to waste time commenting on a thread about elections. Either statement (1) is a lie or statement (2) is a lie. Obviously, they cannot both express the writer’s thoughts. Only basic logic is necessary to come to this conclusion.

  20. judybrowni says:

    Elections don’t change things? Could you be any more idiotic, if you tried?
    Hmmm, let’s see: Clinton, despite his other sins, left a nice, fat T

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    Elections don’t change things. Pretending that they do is a delusion.

    Mass actions change things. Where the left and unions run for office, we’re beginning to win against rigthwingers – Democrats and Republicans. It’s fun running them out of office although we look at elections as a opportuinty to organize and educate.

    We never pretend that the election or right wingers like the Clintons, the Bushes, Reagan, Orama or a Warren will be anything but a scam.

  22. FLL says:

    As the perennial candidate from the Revolutionary Socialist Workers’ Party of My Mother’s Basement (membership: 6 or so, depending on which Americablog thread you’re reading).

  23. ckg1 says:

    Then stop bitching about it and run for office.

  24. Bill_Perdue says:

    Too bad. There’s nothing democratic about that party. Nothing.

  25. ckg1 says:

    And your take, valid as it may be, just got ruined by referring to the DEMOCRATIC party as the “Democrat” party.

  26. ckg1 says:

    I’m not awed by a newbie troll who adds NOTHING to the conversation.

    And I mean NOTHING!

  27. Bill_Perdue says:

    Warren is just another Democrat, a candidate who pretends to be a centrist but who in reality is a rightist moving right.

    The House and Senate votes are antoher demonstration that Democrats and Republicans have joined together to further deregulate the banksters and make it much easier for them to increase their attacks on workers and consumers. At the same time they’re making it easier for the rich to control their parties through bribes, aka, campaign contributions. “You can add insurance industry subsidies to the list of giveaways being shoved into the massive, last-minute government spending bill Congress is trying to vote on to avert a government shutdown. A seven-year extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA)—which is essentially a government promise to bail out insurance companies after a major terrorist attack—has become part of this appropriations measure.”

    The net result of this will make it clearer to even more people that the leaders of the Democrats and Republicans are paid political prostitutes for the rich. That in turn will drive them away from a political process already tightly controlled by plutocrats. “A new scientific study from Princeton researcher Martin Gilens and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often. It’s beyond alarming. … As Gilens and Page write, ‘the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’ In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.”

    A corrolary result is that only those willing to be led by the nose into the far right will remain in the Democrat Party. That’s their problem and they’re welcome to it.

  28. Guest says:

    I am awed by all your cleverness. Not.

  29. Houndentenor says:

    I’d love for her to be Senate Majority Leader one day. Harry Reed has been a rolling disaster for years now. We deserve better.

  30. Houndentenor says:

    NYTimes? Really? the paper of Judy Miller and that reprinted a daily current factoid as news? That NYTimes? Look for a better source of information. The NYTimes is just another corporate shill media outlet.

  31. Houndentenor says:

    They aren’t misguided. They are being directed to promote this line of attack. Wall Street is terrified of Warren because unlike most of Congress, she actually understands how finance works.

  32. Houndentenor says:

    All of which allows the media to bury the story they don’t want to talk about. WHY is Jamie Dimon demanding this specific language being written into law at this time? The answer is obvious but don’t expect the corprorate media to take that on just like they didn’t want to talk about the looming mortgage and mortgage backed securities meltdown in 2007 and early 2008 even though EVERYONE in those industries knew it was coming. (Reporters who wanted to talk or write about it were shut down by editors and producers, just as people in the banks sounding alarms as early as 2005 were disinvited from meetings.) Ask the questions now because what’s going to come is going to be a lot worse than 2008-2009 and it may already be too late to stop it. We should probably already be talking about what we are going to do once it hits.

  33. koolaidyarn says:

    Unfortunately that type of comparison doesn’t fit neatly into single-sentence sound bites, which seem to be about all a good chunk of the public has the patience for anymore. Ugh.

  34. keirmeister says:

    Brilliantly stated. The only thing I would add is that, when it comes to the national press and pundit class, that “balance” they tirelessly seek is not out of some misguided need to appear fair; it’s almost entirely because it’s what their corporate owners want from them.

    Muddy the waters and ignore objective reality. It makes it easier to allow Conservatives to get away with their buffoonery because “both sides do it.”

  35. FLL says:

    I’m not sure that journalists from the major news outlets all march in lockstep. I’d be interested to hear some analysis from the New York Times, for example.

  36. FLL says:

    Statistics for past elections make it very clear that, although young people don’t vote much in midterms, their numbers will be legion in a presidential election, especially one which is not the re-election of an incumbent president. Just look at the numbers in 2008. With that in mind, the two overriding issues in 2016 will be income disparity and the environment. Warren is the candidate who’s addressing both.

    Now look at the perennial Republican ace-in-the-hole: white married women over 40. That demographic group is always more likely to vote than other demographic groups and they always, always, always give the Republican candidate an edge. I defy anyone to show me otherwise. But 2016 throws the first monkey wrench into that Republican strategy. There are no female candidates running on the Republican side, but Warren would be the first female president. For the first time in election history, that would peel votes away from the demographic group that leans slightly Republican: white married women over 40. 2016 looks auspicious.

  37. S1AMER says:

    Well, yeah, of course. But my point is that facts tend not to matter, once a narrative has been formed by a national press and pundit class hell-bent on finding equivalencies so they can claim balance. Yes, people with a brain who choose to educate themselves on national events will know the truth — but that’s most assduredly NOT a majority of the populace that votes in elections.

  38. FLL says:

    I don’t have the time to do all the research, timncguy, so you can chip in and do a little research yourself. I think it’s likely that there have been other presidents who have been one-term senators. JFK was re-elected to a second senate term in 1958, so that’s close.

  39. bejammin075 says:

    Yes, let’s make our strategy depend on being afraid of what Republicans say! Seriously though, Republicans will say mean things about any Dem candidate. Even if we nominated John McCain.

  40. Sally says:

    And you could be President of the local Tea Party? Or maybe you live in Bachmann’s district, and you can run for her seat in two years?

  41. bejammin075 says:

    Teddy Rosevelt didn’t have to contend with the CIA. I would love a President Warren, but she’d probably get JFK’d.

  42. FLL says:

    Thank you, Senator Cruz, although AnitaMann (below) might be right in spotting sly comedy. Remember, comedy is sacred.

  43. FLL says:

    The narrative of painting Warren as an extremist on the level of Ted Cruz is misleading in the extreme. The only cure is to fight free speech (from misguided members of the press) with free speech. Compare what Warren proposes with what Cruz proposes point-by-point, and the false equivalency will become clear.

  44. S1AMER says:

    Actually, the most lasting result of her speech may be the story that’s arisen in the desperate-to-find-false-equivalencies national press. She’s the Democrats’ Ted Cruz, she’s part of a new “kamikaze” wing in the Democratic Party, what will the Democrats call their version of “The Tea Party,” et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.

    It may all be utterly absurd, but only a fool would ever underestimate the press’s ability to shape narrative and politics by coming up with neat packages into which they can stuff stuff, all to the end of their appearing wise and the nation suffering because real facts get forgotten.

  45. Indigo says:

    Good point.

  46. AnitaMann says:

    A parody RWNJ troll? Too soon to tell.

  47. AnitaMann says:

    We can hope. What’s even better than her being POTUS is having sixty more like her in the Senate. So the tragedy of Citigroup and others writing their own legislation will be a thing of the past. It’s not all about the executive branch.

  48. Indigo says:

    Ohmigoodness! A new troll. Nice to see you, thank you for identifying yourself so candidly.

  49. Indigo says:

    Actually, I prefer Bernie Sanders for president but Elizabeth Warren has good things going for her. I’d just as soon she stay in the Senate for the next term or two to become the Arm-Twister-General as the Democrats re-align, re-define, and re-turn to Democratic principles in the coming years.

    Meanwhile, the question remains, can Hillary seize the reins and drive us into that fully actualized Police State we are currently a-building? I think she can. I think she can make it work. Heil Hillary!

  50. KillKommies says:

    She could be president of the soviet union, maybe.

  51. timncguy says:

    The republicans would have a field day with her candidacy. The republicans have spent the last 6 years obstructing everything this president has tried to do and they plan to continue the obstruction for the next two. They have also blamed the president for the results of their obstruction.

    They will use that to paint Elizabeth Warren as just another one-term senator who wants to be president. They will say, if one-term senator Obama wasn’t good for the country, why would the country want to elect another one-term senator with Elizabeth Warren.

  52. GlennF says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything Elizabeth Warren said in that speech, But hasn’t Warren recently been picked for a leadership position in the Senate Democratic Caucus? If so, why didn’t she use her leadership influence in that caucus to force Majority leader Harry Reid to allow a Senate vote on her and David Vitter’s proposed amendment that would strip the offending rollback of Dodd-Frank from the omnibus spending bill?

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