Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) managed to get under Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) skin with a speech Friday night bashing CitiGroup’s deep ties to Washington and a provision in a government spending bill rolling back part of Dodd-Frank.
Warren’s speech came late Friday night as Congress struggled to pass legislation to prevent a government shutdown. Warren, in particular, called out CitiGroup and its employee’s connections to Congress which, she argued, helped keep the provision in the $1.1 trillion spending bill.
“Mr. President, Democrats don’t like Wall Street bailouts,” Warren said. “Republicans don’t like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts. And yet here we are five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again.”
The influence of major banks like CitiGroup explains why the provision is in the bill at all, Warren explained. Warren listed a number of former CitiGroup officials who have taken top positions in the Obama administration and past administrations.
“You know, there is a lot of talk lately about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. There is a lot of talk coming from CitiGroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect,” Warren continued. “So let me say this to anyone listening at Citi —I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces. If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead then let’s open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities.”
Warren’s speech provoked Graham to come to the floor afterward and say that Warren was actually the problem.
“You have every right to vote no and argue to bring the bill down,” Graham said, as noted by Politico. “If there’s something you don’t like, welcome to democracy.”
Graham then said that Warren was really the problem.
“If you follow the lead of the senator of Massachusetts … people are not going to believe you are mature enough to run the place,” Graham said. “Don’t follow her lead. She’s the problem.”
Watch Warren’s speech below: