At the Capitol this afternoon, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received petitions in which nearly 600,000 Americans call for action on the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senator Warren along with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Angus King (I-Maine), would address the problem of Wall Street banks that have become too complicated, too conflicted and too powerful, as well as simply too big.

Glass-Steagall

Glass-Steagall to reinstate principle separating commercial banks

The petitions, gathered by Credo, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, Dr. Mitchell Gershten (a private citizen), and MoveOn.org, were also delivered to the offices of all the other Senators, asking them to support the bill. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act would reinstate the principle that used to separate commercial banks, which enjoy the benefits of deposit insurance and other forms of public support, from the high-risk world of investment banks and hedge funds.

“The original Glass-Steagall Act served our country well,” said Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform. “It laid the foundation for an unprecedented half century without financial panics or crises. Just as important, it contributed to a more right-sized banking system and one more focused on serving the economy and the society as a whole, rather than on enriching itself at others’ expense.”

Glass-Steagall: Separation of commercial and investment banking good for recovering economy

“When banks are allowed to continue gambling with our taxpayer-insured deposits, we are setting up our economy for another meltdown,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “Real banking protections should not be a thing of the past.  Going back to a clear Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking is the easiest way to make sure greedy banksters don’t put our fragile, still recovering economy back on the rocks.”

“Not a single Wall Street banker has gone to jail for crimes that caused the financial crisis, the least Congress can do is make sure these bankers aren’t gambling with our money,” said Becky Bond, CREDO’s political director. “It’s long past time to reinstitute Glass-Steagall.”

“Across the nation, people of all ideological stripes want more Wall Street reform and accountability — not less,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “We were proud to start working with Elizabeth Warren while she was still a candidate on writing a 21st Century Glass Steagall Act. This bill is a huge down payment on the reform we need.”

“Reining in Wall Street’s recklessness and the threat it poses to the whole economy is a galvanizing cause for MoveOn members,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action. “It’s an issue that has also fueled Sen. Warren’s meteoric rise as a champion of hard-working people under siege by powerful financial interests. We thank her for accepting the petitions of MoveOn members and allies, and for joining with Senators McCain, Cantwell, and King in sponsoring this bill. If lawmakers truly oppose Wall Street bailouts and ‘too big to fail’ banks, they need to walk the talk and join us to support this common sense legislation.”