Rossi, Murray spar over Wall Street reform

Last week Republican Dino Rossi, who’s running to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, became the first U.S. Senate candidate in the country to call for full repeal of the new Wall Street reform bill.

As first reported by the Seattle P-I, Rossi was asked on the ABC News program “Top Line” whether he would press to repeal the bill.

“I think we should,” Rossi said. “I think we should put reforms in that actually protect the public and don’t reduce the amount of money that small businesses have available to them to grow, because 64 percent of job creation since ’92 came from small businesses, and now, we’re just killing them.”

Under the law, a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau inside the Federal Reserve will work to shield consumers from unfair credit card and mortgage practices, and a new council of regulators will set standards for how much cash banks must keep on hand. In addition, the new law will curb Wall Street banks’ ability to speculate and own hedge funds.

Murray’s campaign calls Rossi’s take on the bill “an extreme position that’s out of step with Washington state.” And the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says it’s no coincidence that Rossi weighed in for repeal of the law a few weeks after being feted at a fundraiser in New York that raised over $130,000 for his campaign in a single night.

“Instead of fighting for middle class Washington families, who stand to benefit from reforming the way Wall Street works, Rossi is doing the bidding of Wall Street lobbyists and the other special interest backers who continue to pour money into his campaign coffers,” said Deirdre Murphy, the Democratic campaign’s national press secretary.

The Murray campaign also notes that Rossi has signed the Tea Party “Contract from America,” which among other things calls for instituting a national sales tax or national flat-rate income tax to replace the existing progressive income tax. Either option would impose higher taxes on most workers and shift the tax burden from the rich to the middle class, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Rossi isn’t the only Republican running for federal office who supports a flat tax; David Castillo, a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat, also favors a flat tax, which supporters say would make the federal tax code more “fair and predictable.”

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign shot back at Murray Tuesday. It called a new TV ad paid for by the Murray campaign that points out Rossi’s support for repeal of Wall Street reform “a desperate and misleading political attack ad.”

While not addressing the issue of repeal, the NRSC declared that “on Murray’s watch in D.C., the federal debt has skyrocketed past $13 trillion, unemployment has climbed, and the federal government has doubled in size while she’s voted to bail out the banks and the auto companies.”

NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh says the Murray ad “conveniently fails to mention that this ‘reform’ bill was supported by the big banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup” and opposed by small business owners.

The statement links to a series of reports on the website that document Murray’s contributions from lobbyists, including major Wall Street banks, and to press accounts that show many Wall Street banks supported the new reform bill.

Kathie Durbin

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