After threatening to vote “no” on the financial reform bill, Congressman Michael McMahon finally got a meeting yesterday evening with Senator Blanche Lincoln–who had previously rebuffed his requests–that helped pave the way for a derivatives deal.
“I think it became clear to the leadership in the House and the Senate that something had to budge,” McMahon told The Observer this afternoon. “Shortly after I said that, we were able to meet with her. We had a lengthy round of discussions face-to-face with her and with her staff and were able to finally work out a compromise language that we think is a pretty good victory for the financial services industry, New York’s economy and the people in my district who work in that industry, and for the American people.”
McMahon–who was joined by Representatives Scott Murphy, Carolyn Maloney, and Gregory Meeks–said the pressure from Wall Street’s home state was instrumental in negotiating the deal.
“It really was the New York delegation by sending a message–14 of us signed a letter saying this was an issue of critical importance for us–and then by making public statements saying that without negotiation, without compromise, we could not support the overall package,” McMahon said.
“There was some abuse,” McMahon conceded about derivatives. “Unfortunately, the abuses caused many to get caught up in a populist fervor and that would have caused damage to American competitiveness and to tens of thousands of jobs in New York.”
McMahon wouldn’t yet commit to definitely voting ‘yes,’ until he sees the actual bill. “We don’t have the fine print, since a lot of this was done on paper, with pencils, at four o’clock in the morning, so we still have to go over the fine print and make sure that everything we think is in there, is in there,” McMahon said. “But we have brought it to a place where I can consider to vote for it.”
The congressman said he didn’t object to the bank tax–which he reminded The Observer was down from a proposed $90 billion dollars to $19 billion, over 10 years–nor did he oppose the restrictions on proprietary trading.
“We think that is a fair framework,” he said. “Considering where we were 36 hours on many of these issues, we think we’ve brought it back to a place where there are many more victories here than losses.”