Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren launched an attack Friday on the Citigroup banking corporation, and party colleagues, as a provision in the proposed “Cromnibus” spending bill seeks to dilute regulation of financial institutions in the U.S.
Warren was raging against a provision in the bill that would allow banks to once again trade derivatives, alongside providing regular account services.
“There’s a lot of talk coming from Citigroup about how the Dodd-Frank Act isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi: I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces,” Warren said in the Senate Friday.
The proposed provision “would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system," she said.
The Dodd-Frank financial regulation legislation included a restriction on "swaps," a transaction where traders sell high-risk loans, which were a major component of the practices that lead to the 2008 financial crisis, according to CNN Money. The law blocked those loans from being federally insured.
Warren's opposition to the bill, which passed the House Thursday, puts her in direct confrontation with her party's leadership, NBC News reported, adding that the bill was negotiated by leading Senate Democrats and endorsed by President Obama.
During her speech Friday, Warren catalogued a list of high-level Citigroup alumni who had gone on to take up influential positions in key government economic post, including multiple treasury secretaries.
“Think about this kind of power. A financial institution has become so big and so powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage. That alone is a reason enough for us [to] break them up. Enough is enough,” she said.
Warren, together with Republican Senator David Vitter, filed an amendment to remove the controversial provision from the spending bill. The move, however, is not expected to be successful, according to MSNBC.
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Citigroup executives have donated more than $5 million to the Democratic party and its candidates since 2008.
The firm is also particularly close to prospective presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton -- its executives were her single largest source of Senate campaign funds and they were also one of the largest donors to her 2008 presidential campaign.
If passed by the Senate, the “Cromnibus” bill would provide funding for every government agency through September 2015, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Raw Story.