From NBC's Mark Murray
In a letter to Senate Majority Harry Reid, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell says that all 41 Republican senators are united in opposition to the financial reform legislation Reid plans to bring to the floor next week.
As First Readers know very well by now, Reid and the Democrats need 60 votes to bring any legislation to the floor -- so they will need to peel off at least one Republican.
McConnell writes, "As currently constructed, this bill allows for endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and establishes new and unlimited regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and community banks."
But as liberal (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues today, "Mr. McConnell is pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite. In recent weeks, he and other Republican leaders have held meetings with Wall Street executives and lobbyists, in which the G.O.P. and the financial industry have sought to coordinate their political strategy. And let me assure you, Wall Street isn't lobbying to prevent future bank bailouts. If anything, it's trying to ensure that there will be more bailouts."
McConnell's letter is below...
*** UDPATE *** Do note, however, that while McConnell says all 41 Republican senators "are united in our opposition" to the legislation, that isn't the same thing as saying that all 41 senators would block the legislation from coming to the floor.
Dear Leader Reid:
We encourage you to take a bipartisan and inclusive approach, rather than the partisan path you chose on health care.
A bipartisan bill should address the damaging financial practices of big Wall Street firms and government-sponsored entities that led to unprecedented taxpayer bailouts and caused our government to take on enormous amounts of debt. We simply cannot ask the American taxpayer to continue to subsidize this "too big to fail" policy. We must ensure that Wall Street no longer believes or relies on Main Street to bail them out. Inaction is not an option. However, it is imperative that what we do does not worsen the current economic climate or codify the circumstances that led to the last financial crisis.
We are united in our opposition to the partisan legislation reported by the Senate Banking Committee. As currently constructed, this bill allows for endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and establishes new and unlimited regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and community banks.
This is a complex issue that could have unintended consequences on job growth, the ability of Americans and business owners to access credit, and the United States' role as a worldwide leader in innovation and capital formation. The consequences of this bill will reverberate across our economy for years to come.
We urge you to support the bipartisan negotiations by the Banking and Agriculture Committees. We are confident that the Senate can overcome political tensions and provide a bipartisan approach to financial reform this year.