Before a packed room in a Manhattan Barnes & Noble bookstore, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) refused to back off her criticism of Wall Street, after some of the big banks hinted that they could withhold campaign funds from Senate Democrats. Although Senator Warren believes the major banks are serious about that threat, she made no attempt to shy away from the fight.
Warren told the audience “you bet I believe it’s a serious threat” but then she delivered a message for the banks as well:
It is so brazen. If they think they can say in public, ‘I don’t like your tone, I don’t like the way you talk about financial regulation’ … I got news for them: bring it on.
Senator Warren then noted that all she is asking from Wall Street is that the financial institutions abide by the rules, by not cheating consumers, and that no bank should be able to leverage risk that could destroy the economy, simply because it is “too big to fail”.
If they want to fight on either one of those, I’m ready.
The Massachusetts Senator went on to reiterate her Senate priorities. She emphasized that her top goals continued to be cutting student loan interest rates, increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health, and raising the minimum wage.
Warren’s combative tone should remind the Wall Street firms that she will not be intimidated or bullied. While many politicians are willing to cave in to big dollar donors to keep the campaign coffers filled, Warren has built her political career on fighting moneyed interests and financial corruption.
Her Raison d’etre for running for the U.S. Senate was to take on Wall Street privilege and corruption. She is not the type of elected official who is going to fold under political pressure from giant banks threatening to withhold money. Her voice is an important voice for working and middle-class Americans, and luckily for the American people, that voice is accompanied by enough backbone to stand firm in the face of criticism. The Senate needs more like her.