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VPR: Welch Says Budget Bill Favors Wall Street Banks and Wealthy Individuals

December 12, 2014
In The News

Vermont Public Radio

The U.S. House has given its approval to legislation that funds the federal government for the next nine months.

Congressman Peter Welch has voted against a $1.1 trillion budget bill that would fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.

An unusual coalition of House members joined together to oppose the bill. Conservative Republicans were very upset that the measure didn't challenge President Obama's recent immigration reform policies. And many House Democrats, including Congressman Welch, were angry because House GOP leaders put two "non-germane" provisions in the bill.

One of the amendments rolls back regulations that have been in place since 2009 to discourage Wall Street banks from making risky investments. The second amendment makes a key change to federal campaign finance laws.

Welch thinks this is the kind of legislation that makes many people very cynical about the operations of Congress."One is relief for Wall Street banks by giving them some relief from (federal banking law) Dodd-Franks provisions,” said Welch.  “The other is allowing very wealthy people - which in many cases is Wall Street bankers - to give huge, over $2 million contributions to party committees in an election cycle."

"So it just is exactly the opposite of the kind of action we need to take if we're going to be serious about trying to restore public confidence in this institution," Welch said. 

Welch says he voted 'no' in the hope that the bill would be defeated and that GOP leaders would remove these two provisions from the legislation.

"My vote right now is a repudiation really of this midnight hour legislating where we putting in special interest provisions just because somebody usually in leadership can get that done,” Welch said.

Welch says forcing a shutdown of the federal government was never an option because House Republicans were prepared to pass a short term bill that would fund the federal government for the next few weeks.