Despite campaigning against bailouts and other financial deregulation proposals, both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) secured campaign contributions from financial industry donors. These donations are now shedding light on why financial reform advocates are trying to stop the highly unpopular Republican Wall Street bailout plan. These senators not only voted to give Wall Street a $11.2 billion check, but also seem to do anything they can to make sure these firms get that check come November.
Manchin and Sinema specifically voted to fail to require the Treasury Department to release more information about its bailouts. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has analyzed the $11.2 billion check Wall Street will receive. The CBO has estimated that this bill would mean a 3% increase in foreclosure rates and a 2% increase in total US household debt. So it seems ironic that Manchin and Sinema are challenging their Democratic Party counterparts in these campaign contributions from the financial sector.
Financial industry donors in both the Senate and House have complained loudly about a bill that requires Treasury to disclose more information about its most profitable and largest rescue loan. So it doesn’t seem surprising that both Manchin and Sinema voted for this bill. Manchin is an Air Force veteran, and has a history of opposing what he calls “corporate welfare”.
While Manchin voted to approve bailout checks for hundreds of major banks, he also voted for the firm “bailout itself”. To Manchin, there is a major difference: while Manchin condemns Wall Street bailouts, he praises the impact of the federal government on companies like Bank of America and Citigroup. Although JPMorgan Chase has paid about $5.8 billion in interest on the $13 billion it received from the federal government, according to Moody’s, Manchin thinks $2 billion of those funds came from his state’s economy.
Sinema similarly voted for both a bailout for banks and the nation’s debt. However, a page on Kyrsten Sinema’s web site says “Our financial system is not perfect. That’s why we have to continue working to make our financial system safer and stronger. That’s why we should never forget how we got into this mess in the first place and why we have to be ever vigilant and aggressive in reducing our deficits and cleaning up our broken system.” Yet in the same context, she says we have to continue “the fight to reduce government overreach.”
It is also not shocking that Manchin or Sinema are the beneficiaries of political donations from Wall Street. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and several other senators received large donations from the financial sector as well. This should give no hint at the sort of senators these members of Congress are. These are individuals who will vote to make sure Wall Street gets a bailout despite any apparent financial failings.