Was Dodd A Lacky For Bad Banks?

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Democratic Sr Senator (CT) Chris Dodd on Budget & Economy – during 2008 Presidential campaign

Q: Pres. Bush proposes “mortgage rates for homeowners with spotty credit histories would be temporarily frozen under a nearly completed agreement between top Bush administration officials and a broad alliance of Wall Street’s biggest banks, mortgage investors, non-profits and consumer groups.” Is this a good idea?

A: It is. In fact I made the recommendation about a month ago to the administration, and I’m glad to see they are picking up on it. I thought this would help everybody here. If you freeze the “teaser rates”–those rates they drew people into these subprime mortgages on–that would be a good idea. And this way, the homeowner can stay there, maintain at least some payments without losing their home and going into foreclosure. And obviously the lending institution or those that hold the mortgages would get something other than zero. So it looks to me a good solution here that would provide everyone with some relief.

Q: This week the administration proposed freezing the interest rates for a lot of sub prime mortgages around the country that are about to trend up in interest rates. The burden of that lands disproportionately on minority home owners. Some are suggestion that merely freezing home rates for people who are in bad mortgages and can’t get out just delays the reckoning that is surely going to come. Do you agree with the proposal?

A: I think it’s a pretty good idea. In fact we made a similar suggestion. Freezing that rate would allow a couple of things to happen. One, people stay in their homes. But also the financial institutions, they’re better off getting 3-4% back than nothing whenever foreclosures occur. [Furthermore], I’m trying to make sure this doesn’t happen again. This was outrageous what went on here. There were no cops on the beat in this administration–they basically walked away from this and you have three times people of color in this country are being lured into sub prime lending.

Q: Regarding hedge funds. Your home state paper, the Stanford Advocate, reports: “Among Democrats running for president, Connecticut’s Dodd, the Senate Banking aig_connectionsCommittee chairman who has stated his reluctance to hike taxes on hedge fund profits, leads in political contributions, $726,950, from the booming investment sector. The tax code allows hedge fund executives to pay capital gains taxes at 15% instead of paying the personal income tax rate at 35%.” You raise money from these guys, and then the legislation which would raise their tax rate gets killed. Old time politics?

A: It hasn’t been killed at all. In fact, I haven’t come out even in favor or opposed. Look, there are unintended consequences to these actions. Having some idea of capital formation of the country, having a pro-growth Democrat that cares about these issues: What happens to endowments? What happens to retirement accounts? What happens to pensions? As chairman of that committee, the responsible answer is, let’s examine this.

Q: We’ve seen all this turmoil in the markets caused by the credit crunch and the crisis in the mortgage markets. The Federal Reserve lowered the discount rate for banks. Should they lower rates for everyone else, yes or no?

A: Yes, I think it will happen [soon]. But we also need more liquidity. And they ought to be allowing Fannie and Freddie Mac to put more liquidity in the market. It has seized up. You can’t get a mortgage in America today.

Voted NO on paying down federal debt by rating programs’ effectiveness.

Amendment intends to pay down the Federal debt and eliminate government waste by reducing spending on programs rated ineffective by the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

My amendment says we are going to take about $18 billion as a strong signal from the Congress that we want to support effective programs and we want the taxpayer dollars spent in a responsible way. My amendment doesn’t take all of the $88 billion for the programs found by PART, realizing there may be points in time when another program is not meeting its goals and needs more money. So that flexibility is allowed in this particular amendment. It doesn’t target any specific program. Almost worse than being rated ineffective, we have programs out there that have made absolutely no effort at all to measure their results. I believe these are the worst offenders. In the following years, I hope Congress will look at those programs to create accountability.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The effect of this amendment will simply be to cut domestic discretionary spending $18 billion. Understand the programs that have been identified in the PART program are results not proven. Here are programs affected: Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, child abuse prevention, and treatment. If there is a problem in those programs, they ought to be fixed. We ought not to be cutting Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, and the rest. I urge a “no” vote.

Reference: Allard Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.491 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-090 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted NO on $40B in reduced federal overall spending.

Vote to pass a bill that reduces federal spending by $40 billion over five years by decreasing the amount of funds spent on Medicaid, Medicare, agriculture, employee pensions, conservation, and student loans. The bill also provides a down-payment toward hurricane recovery and reconstruction costs.

Reference: Work, Marriage, and Family Promotion Reconciliation Act; Bill S. 1932 ; vote number 2005-363 on Dec 21, 2005

Voted NO on prioritizing national debt reduction below tax cuts.

Vote to table [kill] an amendment that would increase the amount of the budget that would be used to reduce the national debt by $75 billion over 5 year. The debt reduction would be offset by reducing the tax cut in the budget framework from $150 billion

Reference: Bill S Con Res 101 ; vote number 2000-55 on Apr 5, 2000

Voted YES on 1998 GOP budget.

Approval of the 1998 GOP Budget which would cut spending and taxes.
Status: CR Agreed to Y)78; N)22

Reference: H. Con. Res. 84 as amended; Bill H. Con. Res. 84 ; vote number 1997-92 on May 23, 1997

Voted NO on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment.

Approval of the balanced-budget constitutional amendment.
Status: Joint Resolution Defeated Y)66; N)34

Reference: S. J. Res. 1; Bill S. J. Res. 1 ; vote number 1997-24 on Mar 4, 1997

Require full disclosure about subprime mortgages.

Dodd sponsored requiring full disclosure about subprime mortgages

Sen. DODD: Today we are facing a crisis in the mortgage markets on a scale that has not been seen since the Great Depression: over 2 million homeowners face foreclosure at a loss of over $160 billion in hard-earned home equity; over one out of every 5 subprime loans is currently delinquent. These high default rates have frozen the subprime and jumbo mortgage markets and infected the capital markets to the point where central banks around the world have had to inject liquidity into the system to avoid the crisis from spreading to other segments of the market.

One of the fundamental causes of this serious crisis is abusive and predatory subprime mortgage lending. The Homeownership Preservation and Protection Act of 2007 is designed to protect American homeowners from these practices, and prevent this disaster from happening again. The legislation will:

  • realign the interests of the mortgage industry with borrowers to insure the availability of mortgage capital on fair terms both for the creation and sustainability of homeownership;
  • establish new lending standards to ensure that loans are affordable and fair, and
  • provide for adequate remedies to make sure the standards are met; and create a transparent set of rules for the mortgage industry so that capital can safely return to the market without bad lending practices driving out the good.

It is important to keep in mind that only about 10% of subprime mortgages have been made to first time home buyers. This market has not been primarily about creating a new set of homeowners; a majority of subprime loans have been refinances. While maintaining access to subprime credit on fair terms is important, too much of the subprime market has actually put the homes and home equity of American families at risk.

In the coming months, the housing crisis is going to get worse. We will need to continue to press lenders and servicers to provide real relief for homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

Source: Homeownership Preservation and Protection Act (S.2452 ) 2007-S2452 on Dec 12, 2007

Reliable vote for banking & insurance industries

Dodd’s [Senate vote] reliably corporate-friendly when it comes to the industries that matter most to him. The banking, investment, and insurance industries can count Dodd among their best friends on the left side of the aisle–and he, in turn, can count them among his leading campaign contributors. In the 2008 primary field, he stands out as the candidate of Wall Street.In his election to Congress in 1974, Dodd represented Connecticut’s fairly conservative (and often Republican) second district, of the state’s eastern end. In 1980, he moved on to the Senate, thus expanding his constituency to include the bankers and brokers of the wealthy New York suburbs, and the insurance industry long based around Hartford.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.171-172 Nov 11, 2007

Co-sponsored bill to make suing corporations harder

Dodd has grown closer to Wall Street financial interests, doing the grunt work on Capitol Hill for legislation that reduces government oversight. He was an important player in the transformations of the 1990s, when banks and securities firms merged, and when the credit card became a principal means of debt financing the United States.Dodd was an original co-sponsor of 1995 legislation making it more difficult for people to sue corporations, allowing judges to decide which plaintiffs were worthy, and limiting judgments in cases where the companies could successfully claim they didn’t know they were committing fraud. His defining moment came when Bill Clinton vetoed the bill. As the Journal of Accountancy noted, “perhaps the bill’s strongest supporter in Congress, Senator Christopher J. Dodd urged both House and Senate Democrats to override Clinton’s veto, even if it amounted to a defeat of the intent of his own party’s president.”

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.174 Nov 11, 2007

Advocated against extreme predatory lending practices

Dodd’s [pro-corporate] record is not entirely one-sided. He has taken positions against extreme predatory lending practices, for example, and he voted against the 2005 bankruptcy bill, which was considered a gift to the credit card lenders at the expense of consumers.But his close ties to the financial sector remain troubling, all the more so in view of his recent ascendancy to the chair of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, giving him oversight of the banking, financial services, and insurance industries. On the eve of the Democratic takeover of Congress (and of Dodd’s announcement of his candidacy), a government watchdog group said, “It’s a tightrope walk when you’re the chairman of a committee that regulates the industry that gives the most money to politics, in general. It has to be tempting to take a lot of money from the industry, because they want to give it so much.” Dodd, clearly, has long given in to temptation.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.175 Nov 11, 2007

We need Justice Department to deal with antitrust issues

Q: How do you plan to help small farms as the large companies take over more farms?A: We’ve got to have a Justice Department that starts dealing with some of the antitrust issues in our country. It just doesn’t cover agriculture, but also a variety of other things, including media concentration here. The ability today of just concentrating power is making it very difficult for independents and smaller interests to be able to grow and to have the kind of economic success they’d like to have.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

Stop rewarding companies who create jobs offshore

One of the taxes that needs to be addressed–because we’re losing manufacturing jobs in this country. We today reward industries that leave America by giving them tax breaks. I would like to see us reward companies that stay in our inner cities, go to places where jobs ought to be created. That to be a part of our tax policy. Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University Jun 28, 2007

Voted YES on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore.

Amendment to repeal the tax subsidy for certain domestic companies which move manufacturing operations and American jobs offshore. Reference: Tax Subsidy for Domestic Companies Amendment; Bill S AMDT 210 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-63 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted NO on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions.

Amends Federal bankruptcy law to revamp guidelines governing dismissal or conversion of a Chapter 7 liquidation (complete relief in bankruptcy) to one under either Chapter 11 (Reorganization) or Chapter 13 (Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income). Voting YES would:

  • Declare a debtor eligible only for Chapter 13, as anyone financially capable of paying back their creditors at a rate that still allows them to earn above their state’s median income
  • Place domestic support obligations such as child support and alimony amongst the first priority claim category of non-dischargeable debts on a debtor filing for bankruptcy
  • Require debtors to pay for and attend credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy
  • Cap home equity protection at $125,000 if the debtor purchased a house within 40 months of filing for bankruptcy.

Reference: Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005; Bill S 256 ; vote number 2005-44 on Mar 10, 2005

Voted NO on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy.

Vote to pass a bill that would require debtors able to repay $10,000 or 25 percent of their debts over five years to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy (reorganization and repayment) rather than Chapter 7 (full discharge of debt). Reference: Bill HR 333 ; vote number 2001-236 on Jul 17, 2001

Rated 32% by the US COC, indicating an anti-business voting record.

Dodd scores 32% by US Chamber of Commerce on business policy whether you own a business, represent one, lead a corporate office, or manage an association, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of AmericaSM provides you with a voice of experience and influence in Washington, D.C., and around the globe.

Our members include businesses of all sizes and sectors—from large Fortune 500 companies to home-based, one-person operations. In fact, 96% of our membership encompasses businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Dodd does damage: Connecticut U.S. senator jeopardizes bank bailout by pandering on bonuses

Chris Dodd’s explaining may have only begun

Dodd criticized for AIG involvement

Congress ‘Hypocrisy’ on Company Trips Irks U.S. Hotel Industry

Hartford to focus on AIG this week

Dodd addresses AIG issue – Senator: Treasury aides convinced him to OK loophole

9 comments to Was Dodd A Lacky For Bad Banks?

  • The Man 370
    My listed link on this note – I have more than one blog location – will take you to a page listing all sorts of perfidity. If you need some sort of index to help cut through the abundance, you might try going to Del.icio.us and searching for OPIT. I have an index link/tag file there : online bookmarks.

  • Why would you say that?

  • Armed rebellion is being promoted as a danger by the false news brigade. I’d say Americans are being driven to rebellion by a plan to destroy government control and the U.S. economy. Common Dreams has an interesting piece on how AIG isn’t the problem – bipartisan policy since Ronnie Raygun is.
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/03/23
    My nightmare of worldwide conspiracy http://my.opera.com/oldephartte/blog/27-feb-end-of-an-era concentrates on the dysfunction of necessities of life – a global clusterfuck, as you know from your research on poisoned groundwater. ( Give me a link on that, will you ? ) More than drinking water is involved : check out my Monsanto info for instance.
    I’m surprised the guy who figured out how to properly present the official title of the robber barons as corpoRATs still doesn’t refer to the Reich-Wing.The closest the U.S. came to a third party was under environmentalist-war hero Teddy Roosevelt.Even he couldn’t outdo the machinations of the Establishment.

  • If the armed revolution comes to this country it will be the right wingnut gun nuts who will do it. Those living in the land of the shotgun toting nascar driving jesus are way pissed about losing their trailers to foreclosure, and their assistant manager positions at the quickymart. I’l be watch that on tv should it come.

    I still have hope that getting people out to the polls to vote for third party and independent candidates will shift the balance of power away from the two parties of the apocalypse and toward a much broader field of candidates. The sooner everyone walks away from the two parties, the better…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  • OK guys, is it time for rebellion? America had a great solution last century, maybe we should resurrect ‘tar and feathering’ the sneaky bastards out of office.
    I’d like to throw in Gov Rick Perry for starters. The political Mafia has been in charge for too long. There are plenty of sub-culture groups around the country capable of starting a revolution. The only problem is their ideology. Most of them are loony tunes. Maybe America should redraw its states to separate the extreme ideoLOLgies from each other. Like the Dalai Lama, I think the ‘Middle Way’ has failed us.

  • Funny thing is, I completely agree with ClapSo. Both parties are corrupt : but so is the system.
    Not too many these days remember old British history I don’t suppose. A phrase describing the treaty resulting from the Battle of Hastings of 1066 – which reduced Britons to ‘land slave’ status, or serfs – stuck in my forgettery : ” A system of laws giving the appearance of fairness without the reality.” By 1215 the crown had so offended the nobility – the executive class if you will – that they rebelled and forced a Great Charter on the king on pain of his death.Habeas Corpus is part of the Magna Carta.
    What has this to do with the 2-party system ? Selection of acceptable candidates to the monied sponsors results in an ongoing game similar to ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ upon a subject nation. Sound familiar ? Remember, the U.S. operates on a basis consistent with british Common Law – as does the British Commonwealth.

  • The dirty dem sen. clodd is a perfect example of the kind of dogs the dems have in elected orifice. He is not a victim of a smear campaign or anything of that sort. He is guilty as charged!

    I have been trying to get folks to see the corpoRATe criminal connections both the dirty dems and filthy repubs have for decades. Hopefully many are now seeing the truth.

    Don’t worry about sen. clodd. There is already talk of a dirty dem primary battle for his seat in 2010. His approval ratings have been diving for months. Ever since he made Iowa his official place of residence during his short lived presidential campaign in a cynical attempt to win the Iowa caucus.

    Add to that two sweetheart mortgage deals he got from the now defunct countrywide financial corp and questions about how he financed the purchase of a vacation home in Ireland and his upcoming election loss is very likely.

    There are also a number of independent and third party candidates making noises that they are ready to run against him!

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  • I really do hope you are right Opit. Dodds connections to banks seem to be everywhere. There are so many news stories, I am adding a few as we speak. I really like Dodd, but, I really liked Edwards, too.

  • Guess I’ll have to get back to you when I figure out where I saw it… but I’m sure I saw an assessment that Dodds was made a patsy by misrepresenting history…something all too common these days.The least I recall was that he was doing the no-no of demanding accountability. You know how well that flies these days.

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