By Sabrina Eaton
WASHINGTON, D. C. - Ohio Democrats Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan aren't huge fans of newly elected GOP president Donald Trump, but there's at least one campaign promise they want him to carry out.
The pair on Wednesday joined Public Citizen and a group of Clevelanders hurt by predatory mortgage lending at a Capitol Hill press conference to introduce legislation that would restore the separation between commercial and investment banking that was repealed in 1999.
They argue removal of the separation mandated by the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act created "too big to fail" financial institutions and triggered speculative lending that caused the 2008 financial crisis and a mortgage meltdown that cost many Americans their homes.
"Their greed ensured that the American public was on the hook when the housing bubble burst and their corrupt system went bankrupt," said Kaptur, whose "Return to Prudent Banking Act" has 26 bipartisan cosponsors, including Ryan and Rep. Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights.
The banking industry opposes reinstating the old law, with American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols arguing it would "restrain banks' ability to drive our economy forward."
The bill to restore the old law didn't go anywhere when Kaptur previously introduced it, but she's optimistic that will change because Trump called for a 21st Century version of Glass-Steagall during his campaign, 15 state legislatures including Ohio's introduced resolutions to seek its reinstatement, and the Republican and Democratic party's platforms also called for doing so.
A delegation from the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus presented Kaptur with a letter signed by hundreds of Northeast Ohio residents that urged Trump to find common ground with Democrats by passing a modern version of Glass-Steagall.
"As you take office, the conditions for a collapse are too similar to those of 2007: rising asset values together with a lack of separation between FDIC insured banking and risk-investment brokering," the letter said. "We trust that you understand that stabilizing the business climate and securing the assets as separate from Wall Street speculation is a key to prosperity during your administration."
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Ohio Democrats want Donald Trump to make good on campaign pledge to rein in banks