“Poppycock!” – Dodd responds to “bailout” charge

By Jonathan Blakely

Apr 14, 2010 11:59am

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: We are weeks off from considering financial reform on the Senate floor, but the debate has begun in earnest. You could distil Mitch McConnell’s assault on Democrats’ proposal into one word: “Bailout.” Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd just took to the floor for a spirited defense of his proposal. You could distil his defense into one word too: “Poppycock!” “To castigate it and label it as nothing more than a partisan debate and suggest that somehow what we’ve done here is to perpetuate ‘to big to fail’ is just poppycock!” railed Dodd, adding “its unfortunate at this hour of this debate that’s all we can hear from the other side.” McConnell attacked Dodd’s bill by saying it would institutionalize Wall Street bailouts like the $700 billion TARP program that Congress approved in 2008 to avert a wholesale failure of the banking system. Dodd accused McConnell of speaking for Wall Street in trying to kill his proposal. He refuted McConnell’s points, one by one, and read from a widely circulated memo by Republican message maestro and pollster Frank Luntz, who has argued that the best way to defeat a financial regulatory reform proposal is to brand it as a bailout. “Playing politics with this issue is dangerous indeed,” said Dodd, not naming McConnell, but implying that some of the critics of his bill in Congress “should know better and in fact do know better.” McConnell’s main argument is that Dodd’s proposal for a $50 billion fund that would be set aside to unwind troubled banks is a tacit promise of government bailout. Dodd pointed out that the $50 billion would be funded by the banks, not the taxpayers. “Why should the American taxpayer have to pay for unwinding these companies?” Dodd yelled. “They should put up the money themselves so they’re at risk of failing, let them pay for that unwinding that goes on. Don’t charge it to the American taxpayer to do it.” Don’t hold your breath for a bipartisan breakthrough any time soon.

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