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Political Notebook

Senator Elizabeth Warren warns on big banks

Senator Warren said not enough has been done to protect the middle class after the 2008 recession.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senator Warren said not enough has been done to protect the middle class after the 2008 recession.

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts continued her crusade against the “Goliath” banks of Wall Street on Tuesday, saying not enough has been done to protect the middle class after the 2008 recession.

In a speech to the Americans for Financial Reform and the Roosevelt Institute, Warren took large swings at both the Obama administration and Congress for not following up when regulators missed deadlines to impose new regulations under the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation.

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“Who would have thought five years ago, after we witnessed firsthand the dangers of an overly concentrated financial system, that the ‘too big to fail’ problem would only have gotten worse?” Warren asked.

Warren trumpeted her latest attempt to reign in the banking industry, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, as the solution. This bipartisan bill, co-authored by Senator John McCain, would dismantle the largest banks and make “banking boring” by reducing the scope of activities banks could engage in, providing discipline and stability, she said.

“Now sure, the lobbyists for Wall Street say the sky will fall if they can’t use deposits in checking accounts to fund their high-risk activities,” the Massachusetts senator said. “But they said that in the 1930s, too.”

The original Glass-Steagall Act was implemented in 1933 to protect consumers after the stock market crash and was ultimately repealed during the Clinton administration, allowing commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to consolidate.

“What we need is a system that puts an end to the boom and bust cycle, a system that recognizes we don’t grow this country from the financial sector, we grow this country from the middle class,” Warren said. “David can beat Goliath on ‘Too Big to Fail.’ We just have to pick up the slingshot again.”

MATTIAS GUGEL

Republicans block Obama’s pick for D.C. appeals court

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans blocked another of President Obama’s picks for one of the nation’s top courts Tuesday, the latest skirmish in a nominations battle that has intensified partisan tensions in the chamber.

Tuesday’s near-party line vote derailed Obama’s selection of Georgetown University law professor Cornelia Pillard to fill one of three vacancies on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The vote was 56 to 41 in favor of ending GOP procedural delays that have blocked Pillard from confirmation — four short of the 60 votes needed.

The D.C. circuit court is one of the nation’s most powerful because it rules on administration orders and regulations and because some of its judges ultimately become Supreme Court justices. The D.C. circuit’s eight current judges are divided evenly between Democratic and Republican nominees.

Democrats used the vote to assail Republicans for opposing female nominees to the D.C. circuit. Republicans have blocked votes on two other Obama nominees to the same court this year, attorneys Patricia Millett and Caitlin Halligan.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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