It seems Republican Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may be joining Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in her crusade to keep one Wall Streeter out of the Treasury.
The Massachusetts populist has long-opposed banker Antonio Weiss’ nomination for the number 3 position in the Treasury. Now, more Senators are beginning to take her side, according to Talking Points Memo.
“I haven’t made up my mind but if I had to tell you how I’m leaning it would be I’m leaning ‘no,'” TPM reported him as saying. “I think the issue of dealing with the domestic finances that he does for the Treasury Department ought to be done by someone that’s more removed from Wall Street.”
Five Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have joined Warren in opposing the Lazard investment banker, while most Republicans remain undecided, TPM reported.
But other Democrats like Michael Bennet (D-CO) have come out in support of the President’s nominee, which could indicate a growing rift amongst the Democratic caucus between populist progressives and the more centrist members.
Last week, four former Treasury undersecretaries for domestic finance wrote a letter backing Weiss for that job. They disputed Warren’s concerns that Weiss is not qualified for the position, stating, “No candidate’s background can be expected to align precisely with every duty of the position.”
What is Warren really up to?
The senator, who was promoted to a newly-created leadership role in the Democratic party last month, has inspired thousands of people to sign petitions opposing Weiss. And the speech she made on Friday on the Senate floor, which stated once again that “enough is enough” with Wall Street cronyism in government, has reached more than 250,000 views on YouTube.
That speech was an effort to prevent Congress from passing the “CRomnibus” spending bill, which would loosen certain provisions in the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law, allowing banks to more easily trade potentially risky derivatives.
Those provisions were largely written by a group of lobbyists from Citigroup, and Warren used the opportunity to speak more broadly about Wall Street’s dominance — and Citigroup’s dominance — in government. (That’s something she’s written about before.)
Here’s what she said on Friday:
Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism we have seen in the executive branch. Enough is enough with Citigroup passing 11th hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but that everybody comes to regret.
Here’s the full speech: