A year ago, a bipartisan financial deregulation measure that Barney Frank had supported ended up in the omnibus spending bill — also known as the Cromnibus. Sen. Elizabeth Warren nearly shut down the government over this provision. She lost her fight, the deregulation stayed in the spending bill, and the spending bill passed.
But did she really lose?
The Hill at the time reported:
One senior financial industry executive said the dust-up over the funding bill has forced the industry to recalibrate its lobbying priorities for the coming year. Given Warren's megaphone, the executive said, getting through the next Congress without new restrictions on large banks would constitute a win.
Fast forward to the current year-end omnibus. Politico's Morning Money has this interesting analysis:
THE LAMENT OF THE BANK LOBBYISTS - Financial firm lobbyists are getting an earful from industry executives all over the country for failing to get much of anything into the omnibus (more on which from Zach Warmbrodt below). No big CFPB changes, no SIFI threshold changes, no DOL fiduciary rule slow-down. No nothing really. "We are hearing from some very disappointed and PO'd bankers," one lobbying group official emailed. Another in his DC office earlier this week: "We don't know what's in this thing but it doesn't look like good." The anger among bankers is understandable but the political reality is that slipping Wall Street (or even Main Street) banking riders into must-pass bills is a good way to kill those bills these days. The omnibus needs a hundred or so Democrats to get through the House and that just would not happen with any significant Dodd-Frank rollbacks.
The days of these measures slipping through unnoticed are simply over. One comment from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and it's off to the races. So while banking executives think many of the changes they are pushing are common sense relief that would benefit more than just their own bottom lines, most Democrats (and even many Republicans) simply don't see it that way. It's not so much a failure of the lobbyists (though they still get the incoming fire) as it is a complete shift in both the way the sausage gets made and the politics surrounding the banking industry.