Brown Says He'll Filibuster Finance Bill

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., on "Face the Nation," Sunday, April 18, 2010. Republican GOP Senate Congress 6408269
While saying that President Obama has politicized the debate over financial reform, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said today on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he is opposed to the Democrats' proposed legislation to overhaul America's banking system and would filibuster if it came to a vote.

Host Bob Schieffer noted that each day seems to bring more outrage about Wall Street banking practices, yet minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has come out against financial reforms that Democrats want to bring to the Senate floor, claiming it will enable future taxpayer-funded bailouts of banks. President Obama called McConnell's assertion about bailouts the exact opposite of what the bill would allow, and characterized the Republican leader's comments as "cynical and deceptive."

Brown told Schieffer that he disagreed with Mr. Obama's position, and stands with McConnell.

"I think the president's political arm is now taking over this debate," said Brown. "It's unfortunate because I, like many others in my state and throughout the country, want banks to be banks. I don't want them to be casinos and take risky bets on our money. I think that this is an issue that we can clearly come to common ground on and just solve the problem."

Brown suggested that the financial reform bill in its current form would hurt Massachusetts. He specifically referenced Liberty Mutual and Mass Mutual as companies that would be adversely affected, claiming that the bill would lose the country 25,000 to 35,000 jobs.

Schieffer asked how Brown could make that claim.

"I can say it very clearly because the regulations that are trying to reel in with some of the risky hedging they're doing also affects companies like I described in Massachusetts," he said. "Secretary [of the Treasury Tim] Geithner has some of the same criticisms of the bill in that it doesn't end the bailout mentality of the big banks are too big to fail concept."

He continued, "In addition there are a lot of things in the [Sen. Chris] Dodd (D-Conn.) bill that are just bad for business, small businesses in particular. And we should do better. I called the president out the other day and the administration to do better and stop politicizing these issues and just start solving problems."

"Don't you think that Sen. McConnell might be a little bit guilty of politicizing when he comes out and just said flatly, 'No! We're against it'?" asked Schieffer.

"[McConnell's] not saying no to financial reform, unless I'm mistaken, because that's never the impression I've gotten," said Brown. "Throughout our caucuses that issue has been in the forefront with the teams that are negotiating with the banking chairmen to try to find common sense reforms and address situations like the one that I just pointed out, where companies are caught in the big web, when you have government interfering in business, small businesses' lives and just throwing a 'one size fits all' approach just to score political points.

"It's sad," he added, "And to politicize it - it's clear what they're doing with - you know, trying to score points, and [Obama] should do better.

Last week the SEC claimed that Goldman Sachs defrauded its customers that bought investments tied to subprime mortgages by failing to inform its customers about the inherent risks of those investments. Brown said the large Wall Street banks had acted as casinos, not banks.

"I'm glad the SEC is doing [its] job," said Brown. "They should bring those charges because it's wrong and we should do something about it. That's not what the [financial reform] bill does. The bill actually captures a lot of other things that really, in other institutions, that have played no role in what we're talking about."

Brown claimed his opposition to the financial reform bill was not based on partisanship but a desire to see a different approach. When asked what should be done to get financial reform moving in place of the Dodd bill that he opposes, Brown said, "The next step is to put people in a room and start solving problems, as evidenced by what I've tried to do, which is to vote with the Democrats and be the 60th vote - or be the 41st vote. Washington is broken. People are hurting. They want us to do better. We should do better."

He didn't offer specifics about what he thinks should be in a financial reform bill, but said he'd filibuster the current bill rather than let it come to the Senate floor.

"The present bill is not a good bill, period. I have reviewed it. We've analyzed it," he said.