Washington, D.C. Days of high-decibel partisanship yielded to slightly more subdued accusations as the Senate lurched into action Thursday on legislation reining in Wall Street and risky investments that nearly wrecked the economy in 2008.
Within moments of the opening of debate, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said he and other Republicans hoped to rewrite the White House-backed bill “so that it actually ends bailouts, protects consumers without jeopardizing our small community banks, and brings transparency to the world of derivatives without sacrificing economic growth and job creation.”
It was a none-too-subtle accusation that Democrats favor taxpayer bailouts of failing banks, and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California volleyed back a few moments later.
“I knew it was false” when Republicans said it, she said. Holding up a mug of water, she added, “It is like saying this glass of water is a cup of coffee. ... And if you say it seven, eight, nine times that it is coffee someone might believe it.”
No votes were taken, and none was likely before Tuesday on the legislation, expected to take two weeks or more to complete.