Washington (CNN) – A Republican who sits on the Senate Banking Committee defended his party’s lockstep opposition to the current version of the financial regulatory reform bill but said he thinks the GOP and Democrats can ultimately reach agreement on how best to oversee Wall Street.
All 41 Senate Republicans voted against a motion Monday that would have started debate on the financial regulatory reform bill. Speaking on CNN’s John King, USA soon after the vote, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said he hoped his party’s unanimous opposition would facilitate more bipartisan negotiations.
DeMint called the current version of the legislation “another massive bill that doesn’t keep the promises on the label.” And the South Carolina Republican said the current bill doesn’t adequately address the causes of the recent financial crisis but it does, in his view, expand regulation to parts of the financial industry that did not have a role in nearly bringing the economy to a halt in late 2008 and early 2009.
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“So, we’re hoping the vote tonight will at least get the Democrats to work with us on fixing the problems and making sure that we just don’t have another overreach of government power without really fixing the problem,” DeMint told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
DeMint added that one of the major points of disagreement has to do with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and how to fix the subprime mortgage market.
“[Democrats] are not allowing us to address it. So, hopefully if we can shake them up like we did tonight and help them see they’re not going to ram this down our throat, then we can get a real bill that the American people can feel good about.”
On the issue of immigration reform, DeMint said the federal government needs to secure the borders before moving forward with any overhaul of immigration policy.
DeMint also accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who is up for re-election this year, of “playing politics with immigration to try to show the people back home he wants to do something about it.”
In a note of support for the senior senator from South Carolina, DeMint said fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has taken “an important stand” in withdrawing his support for a climate change bill since Reid and Democrats began to signal their desire to prioritize passing an immigration bill this year.
And DeMint told King that he was not concerned about alienating Latino voters in November’s mid-terms.
“Every immigrant that I’ve talked to - that’s come here the legal way - wants us to continue to work on border security and a workable worker I.D. system. All of us as Republicans want to move ahead with those kind of reforms.”