Sanders Announces He's Backing New Attempt to Break Up Big Banks, Working With Senator Warren on Her Glass-Steagall Act

REcalls His Warning As House Member That Giving Banks Too Much Power Was A Bad Decision

Sanders Backs 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act

WASHINGTON, July 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that he is co-sponsoring a bill by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. This important piece of legislation would prevent commercial banks from engaging in risky investment schemes that nearly destroyed the economy in 2008.

“I strongly support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bill to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act,” Sanders said.

On July 1, 1999, while Congress was voting on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to permit commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies to merge, then-Rep. Sanders said: “I believe this legislation, in its current form, will do more harm than good. It will lead to fewer banks and financial service providers; increased charges and fees for individual consumers and small businesses; diminished credit for rural America; and taxpayer exposure to potential losses should a financial conglomerate fail. It will lead to more mega-mergers; a small number of corporations dominating the financial service industry; and further concentration of economic power in our country.”

Looking back today, Sanders said: “Allowing commercial banks to merge with investment banks and insurance companies in 1999 was a huge mistake. It precipitated the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world. It caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college. It substantially increased wealth and income inequality and it led to the enormous concentration of economic power in this country.”

Sanders continued: “I am proud to have led the fight in the House against repealing the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Sixteen years ago, I predicted that such a massive deregulation of the financial services industry would seriously harm the economy. I would give anything to have been proven wrong about this but unfortunately what happened seven years ago was even worse than I predicted.”

Sanders concluded: “Today, not only must we reinstate this important law, but if we are truly serious about ending too big to fail, we have got to break up the largest financial institutions in this country. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

Contact: Vince Morris (202) 224-3728