S&P Has a Silver Lining - The Senate Banking Committee Reviews Their Methods

As Wall Street tanks, S&P's downgrade reverberations abound, our S&P labeled dysfunctional government, legislators are fighting back. Beyond the mealy mouthed put downs coming from the administration, the Senate Banking Committee is doing something a little more serious. The Senate panel is now probing S&P for possible violations:

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee is looking into the decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the nation’s credit rating for the first time in history, according a committee aide briefed on the matter.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, is gathering more information on the Aug. 5 decision, which has been criticized by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other officials in President Barack Obama’s administration, according to the aide, who declined to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Senate Banking Chair, Democrat Tim Johnson:

I am deeply disappointed in S&P’s decision to enter into the game of political punditry.

The thing is, the Senate already held hearings on the credit ratings agencies and they know how absolutely corrupt the system is.

Senate to Debate Financial Reform Bill

The GOP has removed their block against moving forward with Financial Reform.

The bill was reported to the floor Wednesday night and debate is set to begin on Thursday.

The real question is what compromised, watered down, ineffectual, lobbyist driven compromise was made? (as if the Dodd Bill itself wasn't swiss cheese).

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) released a statement Wednesday afternoon touting “a key agreement” to resolve disagreements over a $50 billion fund to liquidate troubled banks.

As a result, there will not be any more votes on the Senate floor Wednesday and Democrats will not keep the chamber in session overnight.

Massachusetts turned Red, but that color isn't what you think it is

Massachusetts, the most liberal of liberal states, just elected a Republican, Scott Brown, to the U.S. Senate. What the hell just happened? People are Red Faced Pissed Off is what happened!

This commentary, Dear Politicians: We are Fed up says it best:

We are fed up with the lot of you.

You promised to change the way Washington works, but you didn't do it. Your answers to our problems are inadequate, or they make things worse. As usual, you're taking care of everyone but us. Despite the worst economic crisis in generations, nothing has changed.

The Christmas Gifts to pass "Health Care Reform"

Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle bell rock. The Senate is hot, they know to say not, giveaway, giveaway lobbyists galore, buyouts and paybacks, we know the score...

There are many reports tallying the winners and losers on health care. Of course it's a given that the American people will lose...

The consensus seems to be big pharma won big as did insurance companies.

Firedoglake (they are not always on top of their economics, trust me!) gives 10 reasons to kill the Senate bill, which I find rather scary.

  1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.

The Senate - Where Lobbyists can guarantee anything in the national interest will die

We've just seen health care turn into the for profit health lobbyists' wet dream and now here comes the financial lobbyists (as if the House bill wasn't a bunch of swiss cheese already).

The American Bankers Association issued a "Call to Action" on Wednesday, urging its lobbyists and member banks to make an all-out effort to crush regulatory reform in Senate. As part of that campaign, it lashed out at its community-bank rival, charging it with being too soft on bank reform efforts.

In an unusually frank memo from ABA Chairman Art Johnson, the lobby group congratulates bankers for sending some 300,000 letters to Congress opposing reform, crediting the effort with killing several significant provisions.

Senate Gives Away the Rest of the TARP $350 Billion

Senate gives away more money

There is no anything to give the money directly to homeowners. We have only Larry Summers claiming to ease foreclosures.

That means nothing. They can claim almost anything would help homeowners when in fact the money goes directly to banks where as it is we have no accountability.

more details

Republican Sen. Vitter:

There's been mistake after mistake, embarrassment after embarrassment, and a complete lack of accountability in the TARP program," said Vitter. "The American people are not going to be fooled twice ... I urge all of my colleagues not to be fooled again, to say no to an open checkbook.

Bail Out Senate Fight

Well, this will be a key test of our new Senators. There appears to be a Republican lead vow to stop the second $350 Billion of TARP money released.

Obama has vowed to veto this resolution to stop the additional money from being released.

So, that said one question I have is how many newly minted Freshman Democrats will stand by their campaigns and also vote no release?

Under the bailout legislation approved by Congress in October, unless Congress passes a joint resolution rejecting the request within 15 days, Treasury can begin tapping the funds. Obama has vowed he would veto a resolution denying him the funds.

What a political football too. If Congress does the right thing and doesn't allow the other $350 Billion to be given to banks, they hand Obama a very crappy inauguration gift.

Senate To Try to Pass Auto Bail Out

The Senate is going to try to push through a bail out package for the auto industry.

The plan details are unclear and there is a test vote on Wednesday.

CQ Politics has a few more details on what might be in the bill.

Sen. Carl Levin , D-Mich., has been working on legislation to provide $25 billion in “bridge loans” to the “Big Three” automakers. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank , D-Mass., has been heading efforts to draft bailout legislation in that chamber.

House and Senate leaders have said any legislation must include the same type of restrictions and taxpayer protections as the larger financial industry bailout plan Congress cleared in October, including limits on executive compensation.

Stevens Guilty on 7 Counts

Stevens Guilty of Taking $250k in Gifts:

U.S. Senator Ted Stevens was convicted of all seven felony charges of failing to report gifts from a company in his home state of Alaska, a possibly fatal blow to the career of the Senate's longest-serving Republican.

Stevens, 84, was convicted in Washington of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms. He was accused of hiding more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from Veco Corp., an Alaska oil-services company, Bill Allen, the company's founder, and other friends

So, the 84 year old Bridge to Nowhere Senator is goin' down...
what about all of the legal payola on the hill? What about the corporate lobbyists running the country?