Don’t expect Heidi Heitkamp and Elizabeth Warren to be campaigning together anytime soon.
For the past week, Warren has been telling anyone who will listen that one-third of her fellow Democrats in the Senate are caving to Wall Street and bank lobbyists by joining Republicans in legislation to roll back a part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul.
The bill’s supporters say it is aimed at reducing compliance costs for small community banks and credit unions particularly in rural communities, but its critics on the left say it will help loosen regulations on much larger institutions with assets totaling up to $250 billion. Easing rules for those institutions, Warren argues, is risking another financial crash.
“It’s outrageous,” Warren wrote in one fund-raising email that accused her colleagues of voting “against working Americans” and in favor of what she calls the “Bank Lobbyist Act.” She’s delivered five speeches against the bill on the Senate floor, convened a rare Capitol Hill press conference, and made the rounds on the Sunday news shows to rally opposition on the left. With backing from 17 Democrats, the measure could pass the Senate later this week.
By her own acknowledgement, Warren has irked Democrats by attacking the bipartisan bill so aggressively. They’ve accused her of misstating its provisions and exaggerating its likely impact, raising what they say is unnecessary alarm about another financial crisis exacerbated by deregulation. Politically, Warren is burnishing her reputation as a progressive fighter ahead of a possible 2020 run for president, but by going after Democrats, she could undermine the party’s bid to recapture the Senate majority, since backers of the bill include some of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2018.