Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) rebellious stand against Democratic leadership – including President Obama – on Thursday’s vote to fund the government has incited a palpable sense of anger in some circles of the party.
“She is the Ted Cruz of the Democratic Party,” one senior House Democratic aide complained, comparing Senator Warren to Senator Ted Cruz’s hard line tactics last year when he led a caucus of House Republicans to shut down the government in an effort to defund Obamacare.
“[Sen. Warren is] the purist who may stand on principle, but refuses to be part of the governing majority,” the aide added.
Sen. Warren rallied Democrats to oppose the spending deal because it contained a provision weakening a Dodd-Frank reform designed to limit risky trading of derivatives at large banks. Warren’s supporters argue that the controversial provision would dismantle a major element of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law.
Supporters of the spending deal, however, note that former Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, a key architect of the Wall Street reform effort, signed onto a move in the last Congress to weaken that same provision.
At the time, Congressman Frank assured members of the 112th Congress that the effort would “not in any way, shape, or form reduce sensible regulation of derivatives.”
Some Democratic House members expressed frustration that the provision nearly derailed Thursday night’s House vote. Rep. John Carney (D-DE), who voted for the package, said the uproar against the measure was the result of what he called a “toxic description” from progressive critics.
“I try to deal with the facts,” Carney told Bloomberg Politics. “Sometimes that’s at odds with the way we do work here, where you get these political narratives that take on a larger than life part of the discussion.”
Moderate members of the Democratic caucus lined up behind Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in order to push the “Crominbus” over the finish-line. But after the Warren-led revolt by more liberal members, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), moderates are concerned about the future of the party, according to one Democratic House aide.
“We need to be serious about the next two years and have the best possible nominee in 2016,” said another House Democratic aide involved in the whip process Thursday night. “Last night did everything to weaken that.”