Boehner Compares Wall St. Bill to Killing an Ant with a Nuke

By Alex Pepper

Jun 29, 2010 4:06pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: The top Republican in the House of Representatives is under fire from Democrats for comments about the Wall Street reform bill suddenly in jeopardy of getting passed by Congress. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Monday, House Minority Leader John Boehner compared the financial regulatory reform bill to “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” “This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” Boehner said of the bill. “There are faults in our regulatory system, some in terms of transparency, most as a result of ineffective enforcement by the bureaucracy who have no idea what these financial products look like today. That could’ve been fixed, but that’s not what we have here.” Democrats quickly pounced on Boehner’s comments. “An ant, Mr. Boehner?” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in a statement. “It was the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — Americans lost 8 million jobs and $17 trillion in retirement savings and net worth. The irresponsible fiscal policies of George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans were much more than an ant to American workers, their families and small businesses.” “If John Boehner thinks the crisis that cost millions of Americans their jobs was an ‘ant,’ he probably thinks the BP spill is just a drop in the bucket,” said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “This is coming from the same Republican Party that called America a ‘nation of whiners’ and declared ‘the fundamentals of our economy are strong’ as our economy was collapsing.” “This is about values,” Manley said. “Republicans apologize to BP, meet in secret with Wall Street executives and fight for every special interest that comes knocking on their doors. But when it comes to fighting for the middle class, they’re nowhere to be found. Senate Republicans should say whether they agree with Boehner’s assessment. If they do, it would explain why nearly all of them voted against holding Wall Street accountable.” The Wall Street bill is currently in a tenuous position in the Senate after the death of Sen. Robert Byrd and the opposition of Sen. Scott Brown, both of whom voted for the bill last month. Lawmakers are now poised to go back into conference committee to change a controversial $19 billion bank tax that prompted Brown’s disapproval. Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, issued a statement on Tuesday clarifying the Ohio congressman’s comments. "It's clear Boehner is not minimizing the crisis America faced – he is pointing out that Washington Democrats have produced a bill that will actually kill more jobs and make the situation worse,” Steel said.   -Matthew Jaffe

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