Apr 6, 2016 by



Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders speaks with a patron of Blue’s Egg restaurant while stopping for breakfast in Milwaukee on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday issued a statement seeking to clarify how he would go about breaking up big banks following criticism that he fumbled that and other questions during an interview last week with the New York Daily News.

The paper’s editorial board published a transcript Monday of its full interview with the senator from Vermont, setting off a wave of criticism from the campaign of Hillary Clinton and its allies, as well as political commentators.

Sanders, who has long decried the influence of Wall Street institutions, was pressed during the interview Friday for specifics on how he would force the breakup of the country’s largest banks. During the interview, he acknowledged being uncertain about some of the particulars of current law and what would need to change.

[The Fix: This New York Daily News interview was pretty close to a disaster for Bernie Sanders]

“Electing Senator Sanders as president would send a clear message to financial regulators that they need to do everything within their power to break up financial institutions so that they can no longer threaten the financial well-being of the American people,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement Tuesday night.

The statement outlines a process that Sanders largely detailed during a January speech in New York just blocks from Wall Street.

Within the first 100 days of his administration, Sanders is pledging that he would require the Treasury Secretary to establish a “too-big-to-fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks and insurance companies “whose failure would pose “a catastrophic risk to the United States economy without a taxpayer bailout.”
Bernie Sanders: ‘The Problem’ | Campaign 2016
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The campaign for Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a campaign ad targeting Wall Street banks. (YouTube/Bernie 2016)

Within a year, the campaign said, “the Sanders administration will work with the Federal Reserve and financial regulators to break these institutions up using the authority of Section 121 of the Dodd-Frank Act,” a reference to the 2010 financial regulatory reform bill.

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[Clinton, Sanders agree to square off in CNN debate ahead of New York primary]

In the statement, Sanders also pledged, as he has previously, to push for a modern Glass-Steagall Act to “clearly separate commercial banking, investment banking and insurance services.” He noted that Clinton “opposes this extremely important measure.”

The tempest over the Daily News interview comes two weeks in advance of the New York Democratic primary, which is shaping up as a crucial showdown between Clinton and Sanders, as Sanders tries to catch up with Clinton in the delegate count for the nomination.

The transcript also prompted some commentators to question Sanders’s grasp of policy details on other issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and dealing with the Islamic State.

Clinton’s campaign on Tuesday widely circulated the transcript in an email, calling it “MUST READ” material.

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