Congress today agreed that the scans of accounts and assets at all US banks were too invasive to continue. “In light of privacy concerns raised by banks, we’re calling for a 2 year moratorium.” Announced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The scans, passed as part of President Obama’s response to the meltdown of the financial system were aimed at detecting behavior that could lead toxic assets to flow into US financial markets. Since their inception many banks have complained that the scans violate their privacy and are ineffective at best. Chase Bank president Jamie Dimon famously told a Senate Financial Committee “Don’t touch our junk bonds, or I’ll have you arrested!”
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell explained that halting the scans was an important first step in restoring the economy. In response to criticism that he broke his pledge to allow an legislation to pass before the restoration of Bush-era tax cuts, McConnell angrily defended his colleagues’ actions saying “banking is the heart of our democracy. If the banks start complaining that we are violating their privacy, we, the Congress, has to act now, this isn’t something that can wait until after the Christmas recess.”
In addition, to halting all further scans, Congress began debating a bill which would impose a mandatory 15 year federal jail term for leaking internal banking documents. At press time the bill was expected to pass after House Democrats agreed to a clause calling for construction of a firewall that would prevent Americans from accidently reading leaked banking documents published by websites hosted in other countries. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to criticism that the bill would violate the principles of open communication on which the internet was founded by saying “When this bill passes there will be serious jail time for reading leaked documents; if the firewall saves just one child from having to spend time in prison then it’s worth it.”
John Boehner angrily defended the Firewall provision on the capitol steps eclaiming: “Banks represent large contributors and we have to do what they say” he added “contributors to our democracy. Jefferson himself was a banker. If banks fail because someone revealed they are really weak and just making money out of thin air, be they government or random document leaker, they will be responsible for the lose of thousands of American jobs. As a Congressman I came to DC to defend people- and the only way to do that is to defend the banks!”
Boehner confirms that banks are too important for petty partison politics.