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O’Malley to Washington Press: Pass Glass-Steagall First!

July 23, 2015 (EIRNS)—Martin O’Malley, candidate for the U.S. Democratic Presidential nomination, outlined his Presidential platform on finance to press today in Washington D.C. O’Malley’s main point was, "First and foremost, we must pass a modern version of Glass-Steagall." He added, "We must close the ‘revolving door’ between regulators and Wall Street," and not "appoint architects of deregulation to these positions," "beef up the CFTC [Commodities Futures Trading Commission] and SEC," and eliminate legal evasions which allow Wall Street principals to "neither affirm nor deny" breaking the law. O’Malley held up his 10-page "White Paper" on Wall Street reform to the press.

O’Malley spoke at the Truman Center for National Policy, first in a dialogue with former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), who served on the Financial Services Committee and developed an expertise in "subprime mortgage lending." Miller started by saying that he believed that any Democrat running for President in 2016 must run as an "economic populist." O’Malley came out of the gate immediately quoting Paul Volcker’s recent warning, "The danger of a crash is as great today as it was eight years ago." Therefore the absolute priority, he said, is passing a "modern Glass-Steagall Act."

When Miller opened the floor to the approximately 50 press present, the first question to O’Malley was asked by EIR’s Anita Gallagher: "You have stated your support for Glass-Steagall as the first thing to be enacted. There are bills to restore Glass-Steagall before Congress: Sen. Warren’s S. 1709; Rep. Kaptur’s H.R. 381, and the Capuano companion bill to Warren’s in the House. Will you use your campaign to get these Glass-Steagal bills passed now?" O’Malley said he would use his campaign, and "hoped that other candidates would use their campaigns, to get this legislation passed." Gallagher had also asked, "Why ‘modern’? What’s wrong with FDR’s original?" O’Malley clarified that his use of the term reflected no disagreement with the original Glass-Steagall Act.

EIR’s Paul Gallagher asked O’Malley about building infrastructure in the U.S., and its relationship to economic productivity. How would you finance infrastructure building, he asked, pointing out that China has built 15,000 miles of high-speed rail in a decade. Through a Reconstruction Finance Corporation? Through a National Bank? O’Malley said he supports investments in "infrastructure that connects," and said he was about to issue a campaign infrastructure program. He added that he had been to China, and was impressed.

O’Malley’s Glass-Steagall emphasis was covered by National Journal. AP’s Ken Thomas reported that O’Malley "challenged the Democratic presidential field to commit to making changes on Wall Street, including restoring the Glass-Steagall law that once separated commercial and investment banking." The AP story was picked up by The New York Times, Washington Post) ABC News, Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin, Frederick (Md.) News Post, San Luis Obispo Tribune, and 40 other newspapers.