Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hillary Gives Some Needed Context to Her 2002 Vote on Bankruptcy Bill

Hillary has rightly said that all this talk of financial donors is innuendo. Bernie can only say 'You took this money form Goldman Sachs' but can't prove her vote was in any way bought.

Now the Bernie team has trotted out an Elizabeth Warren video from 2004 where Warren claimed that Hillary changed her vote on a 2002 financial bill because of donations.

"Few issues divide the interests of consumers and financial institutions more than bankruptcy. In the late '90s, one of the top legislative priorities of many banks and credit-card companies was bankruptcy reform — specifically, reforms that would make it more difficult for consumers to shed their debts."

"When such legislation began to make its way through Congress, a certain Harvard Law professor wrote an editorial against it, arguing that the bill would disproportionately burden single mothers. First Lady Hillary Clinton read the piece and invited the professor, some finance wonk named Elizabeth Warren, to meet with her about the bill. In Warren’s telling, that meeting ended with Clinton standing up and saying, “Well, I’m convinced. It is our job to stop that awful bill. You help me and I’ll help you.” The legislation passed the House and the Senate, but President Clinton refused to sign it."

"Several months later, the First Lady had become a New York senator — one who supported an updated version of that bill. Although the law was not identical to the one Clinton had promised to oppose, it was still anathema to many unions and consumer groups. During Clinton's 2008 run, her campaign spokesman Phil Singer told the New York Times that the former senator had helped to "forge a compromise in the 2001 bill intended to ensure that custodial parents got child-custody payments.”

And that's the key. Warren may think that HRC changed her vote over fear of losing donations. But HRC explained this morning-as Singer did in 2008-that she was basically trying to make a bad bill less bad.

Of course, this kind of messiness is what Bernie's purist rhetoric glosses over. Sometimes in Congress there is a bill you don't like but the GOP has the votes for it so you put in something to make it less bad.

It's called a 'poison pill.' The good news is it worked-she voted for the bill with the improvements that at least stopped kids from missing out on their child support-but the bill revised ended up failing.

This is exactly the kind of legislative skill that will be very helpful for Hillary as President facing a hostile GOP Congress in 2017.

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