Sanders legislation would break up the nation’s largest banks

Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled new legislation designed to break up the nation’s largest banks, declaring that “if an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

Sanders vigorously called for banking industry reform as a key plank in his battle for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Business and banking groups, and their lobbying forces on K Street, are quickly lining up against the legislation.

Despite the vocal opposition from the business community, Sanders’s ability to activate progressive outside groups could give the common sense solution a chance at becoming law.

Paul Merski, an executive vice president at the Independent Community Bankers Association, said many smaller community banks support Sanders’s effort.

Sanders and other progressives have raised criticism about former President Bill Clinton’s economic policies during the late 1990s. Chief among them is his support for — and signature on — the repeal in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall banking law requiring commercial banks to split their investment banking operations.

Sanders was one of eight lawmakers to vote against Glass-Steagall’s repeal.

“Bernie Sanders is a long-time champion of these issues,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America (DFA). “This is about Democrats putting forward very early on in the cycle big progressive ideas.”

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