Progressives push Clinton on her banking bill stance

Progressives are pressing Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton to clarify her position on reinstating Glass-Steagall, legislation her husband repealed in 1999 that would break up big banks.

Clinton’s economic policy speech on Monday made no mention of the Depression-era law, which Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reintroduced earlier this month.

Clinton’s challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running as a Democrat, was one of the eight senators in 1999 who voted against repealing the law.

Neil Sroka, communications director for the progressive Democracy For America, called it “patently absurd that any serious 2016 Democratic candidate would refuse to join Elizabeth Warren in the push for a new Glass-Steagall.” 

Reuters reported on Monday that Clinton economic adviser Alan Blinder said that Clinton would not adopt Glass-Steagall.

Sroka said that Blinder’s comments make it “essential that Sec. Clinton make clear whether she stands with Elizabeth Warren and millions of Americans in the fight for new Glass-Steagall banking reforms or the army of Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists who will stop at nothing to defeat them.”

During a September 2008 interview with CNN, Clinton defended her husband’s repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999. 

“Your husband could have vetoed the bill, even though it might have been over-ridden, he could have done it symbolically,” said then-CNN anchor John Roberts.

“Well, but there were reasons. There were positive reasons,” Clinton answered. “What I believe the failure in ’99 was — is that once you removed some of those barriers between banks and investment banks and the kind of business that could be done by banks — that there needed to be new regulatory framework. But there was no appetite in the Republican Congress or with a Republican president to take the second step.”

Former President Clinton has defended the repeal of the legislation. He said in 2014 at an economic forum in Washington that “getting rid of Glass-Steagall didn’t have anything to do with the crash.”

Tags banks Elizabeth Warren Glass-Steagall Hillary Clinton

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