Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pacific Northwest legislators named "Most Valuable"

Whether standing up to disgraced former Senator Ted Stevens who tried to send oil tankers into Puget Sound removing decades old restrictions, or taking on Enron for bilking Washington state consumers, or restoring the Glass-Steagall Act to protect consumers from unscrupulous financial institutions, here at NPI we know that The Nation made a great choice when it named Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) as its Most Valuable Senator of 2009.
She has come into her own, however, as Congress has wrestled with an internecine financial crisis. In October 2008 she was one of a handful of Democrats to oppose Wall Street bailout legislation, which she identified as fiscally unsound and lacking in accountability. "I am not for...turning the keys to the Treasury over to the private sector," said Cantwell. Since then, the senator has doggedly challenged fellow Democrats--in Congress and the Obama administration--to get serious about financial services reform. She has attacked the Treasury Department for defending loopholes favored by Wall Street and declared in November that she was not sure why Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner still had his job. Cantwell condemned House Financial Services Committee "reforms" that failed to crack down on derivatives trading. And she joined Sanders in proposing to use state gambling laws to regulate the $600 trillion derivatives market.
Congratulations to Senator Cantwell for this recognition. We look forward to her continued relentless pursuit of financial services reform, ensuring that the common wealth (and our personal wealth) is guarded from the corporate greed and excess that ran rampant during the Bush Administration and led us to this economic catastrophe.

We'd also like to congratulate Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon's 4th District, who was named Most Valuable Representative by The Nation. While Senator Cantwell has approached the economic debacle from a consumer protection standpoint, Congressman DeFazio has attacked the issue from a jobs and infrastructure perspective, proposing policies that would take money from monied Wall Street interests and invest in our communities.
If Obama is keeping score, he should recognize by now that DeFazio has tended to be more right about real-economy concerns than any of the president's advisers. A key player on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, DeFazio is Congress's most ardent advocate for spending more on job-creating construction projects and less on bank bailouts and distant wars. He was an early proponent of reclaiming TARP funds and using the money to address rising unemployment, an idea that caught on despite the fact that, as DeFazio noted, "the president has an adviser from Wall Street, Larry Summers, and a treasury secretary from Wall Street, Timmy Geithner, who don't like that idea."
Kudos to The Nation for recognizing the quality representation that Congressman DeFazio and Senator Cantwell provide for their constituents in the Pacific Northwest and their service to the nation.


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