Senator Elizabeth Warren said a bill giving banks relief from rules imposed after the 2008 financial crisis could usher in a new round of taxpayer-funded bailouts, while making it easier for banks to discriminate on home mortgages and target minorities with excessive fees.
The Massachusetts Democrat, a popular figure among progressives and a regular target of scorn for President Donald Trump, also said in a series of interviews on Sunday morning political shows that she’s not running for president in 2020.
“I don’t think a bill like that is good for anybody in America,” Warren said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” of the legislation aimed at rolling back regulations on banks.
The bill is the largest congressional overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Act, which sought to contain financial risk during the recession and enforced oversight and regulatory rules on lenders. Warren spoke on the Senate floor last week, proposing 17 amendments to the bill that she says erodes consumer protections. Warren diverges from some Democrats who support the legislation, which the Senate plans to debate this week and pass onto the House for further discussion and approval.
The bill “puts us at greater risk that there will be another taxpayer bailout. That there will be another crash,” Warren said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” On “Fox News Sunday,” she said it was critical to remember that “millions of people across this country” lost their homes, jobs and retirement savings in the 2008 housing and stock market crash and recession.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, sponsored the legislation, which is widely considered a compromise because it doesn’t go as far as many Republicans and Wall Street banks would like. It generally provides regulatory relief for small and regional banks and includes raising the bar when lenders are considered “too big to fail.”
Democrats are divided, with support coming from those who are more moderate, including many from states that Trump won in 2016.
Warren champions the progressive wing’s position, arguing that rolling back the rules would leave Americans at risk in another major crisis. Her proposed changes include ensuring banks that received more than $1 billion in bailout funds remain highly regulated, imposing penalties on credit bureaus that were hacked and preventing employers from asking job applicants for credit reports.
“This isn’t a Democrats or Republicans or blue states or red states” issue, Warren said on NBC. “I think we do better as a country and we do better as a Congress when we’re there to fight for working people and not for Wall Street banks.”
The Senate is expected to vote on Crapo’s bill this week, with lawmakers starting the process of considering amendments Thursday. It remains to be seen whether House Republicans will support the bill, which doesn’t offer much to large lenders.
Warren, 68, a consumer protection advocate and former Harvard University law professor, was elected to the Senate in 2012 in a crusade against big Wall Street banks. She’s up for re-election this year and said she doesn’t plan to run in 2020 for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I am running for the United States Senate,” she said on NBC when asked whether she is running for president and would pledge to serve a full six-year term if re-elected. “That’s where I’m focused.”
The senator has said her mother’s family, which hails from Oklahoma, has Native America heritage. Trump regularly makes fun of Warren’s claim with the nickname “Pocahontas” — most recently at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
“Can you imagine covering Bernie or Pocahontas? How about that?” Trump said at the rally, referring to Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Warren.
Warren struck back in her CNN interview.
“I went to speak to Native American tribal leaders, and I made a promise to them,” she said. “That every time President Trump wants to try to throw out some kind of racial slur, he wants to try to attack me, I’m going to use it as a chance to lift up their stories.”
One area of at least partial agreement between Warren and Trump is over the tariffs the president will place on imported steel and aluminum.
“I am not afraid of tariffs,” Warren said on NBC, adding that tariffs should be one part of a “comprehensive overhaul rethinking” of U.S. trade goals. “We need a completely different structure” to formulate trade deals with better representation for workers and small businesses, she said.
— With assistance by Elizabeth Dexheimer, and Ben Brody