Without rules, financial markets don't work

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For too long, the opponents of financial reform have cast the debate as an argument between the pro-regulation camp and the pro-market camp. They generally put Democrats in the first camp and Republicans in the second.  

But that so-called “choice” gets it all wrong.  

Rules are not the enemy of markets. Without some basic rules and accountability, financial markets don’t work. People get ripped off, risk-taking skyrockets, and markets fall apart. Rolling back the rules or firing the cops can be profoundly anti-market.

Republicans claim – loudly and repeatedly – that they support competitive markets, but their approach to financial regulation is pure crony capitalism. It helps the rich and the powerful protect and expand their wealth and their power – and leaves everyone else behind.  

This week, I gave a big policy speech where I presented ways we can promote competition, innovation, and safety in financial markets. The speech was long and wonky, but it really boils down to two principles:

  • First, financial institutions shouldn’t be allowed to cheat people. Markets work only if people can see and understand the products they are buying, only if people can reasonably compare one product to another, only if people can’t get fooled into taking on far more risk than they realize just so that some fly-by-night company can turn a quick profit and move on. That’s true for families buying mortgages and for pension plans buying complex financial instruments.
  • Second, financial institutions shouldn’t be allowed to get the taxpayers to pick up their risks. That’s true for using insured deposits for high-risk trading, and it’s true for letting Too-Big-to-Fail banks get a wink-and-a-nod guarantee of a government bailout.

We know what changes we need to make financial markets work better. Strengthen the rules to prevent cheating. Make the cops do their jobs. Cut the banks down to size.  Change the tax code to promote more long-term investment. Tackle shadow-banking done by non-bank firms and subsidiaries.  

Changes like these can make a real difference. They can help protect hard-working families from cheats and liars. They can help rein in the lawless practices that are still too common on Wall Street. They can end Too Big to Fail.

The secret to better markets isn’t turning loose the biggest banks to do whatever they want. The secret is smarter, more structural regulation that forces everyone to play by the same rules and doesn’t let anyone put the entire economy at risk.

The key steps aren’t hard. It just takes political courage – and a strong demand from people like you – to complete the unfinished business of financial reform.

Wall Street isn’t happy with us

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In 2008, the financial sector collapsed and nearly brought down our whole economy. What were the ingredients behind that crash? Recklessness on Wall Street and a willingness in Washington to play along with whatever the big banks wanted.  

Years have passed since the crisis and the bailout, but the big banks still swagger around town. And when Citigroup and the others don’t quite get their way or Washington doesn’t feel quite cozy enough, they quickly move to loud, public threats. Their latest move is a stunner. According to Reuters:

Big Wall Street banks are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren's call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Citigroup has decided to withhold donations for now to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over concerns that Senate Democrats could give Warren and lawmakers who share her views more power, sources inside the bank told Reuters.

JPMorgan representatives have met Democratic Party officials to emphasize the connection between its annual contribution and the need for a friendlier attitude toward the banks, a source familiar with JPMorgan's donations said.

That’s right, the biggest banks on Wall Street have made it clear that they expect a return on their investment in Washington. Forget making the markets safer (where they can still make plenty of money) and forget the $700 billion taxpayer bailout that saved them and forget the need to build a strong economy for all Americans. Forget it all. The big banks want a Washington that works only for them and that puts their interests first – and they would like to get a little public fanny-kissing for their money too.

Well forget it. They can threaten or bully or say whatever they want, but we aren’t going to change our game plan. We do, however, need to respond.

According to this breaking news, our 2016 Democratic Senate candidates could lose at least $30,000 because of this decision. Can you help us raise $30,000 to match Wall Street’s money right now – and keep fighting for a Democratic Senate that will work for people instead of big banks?

Now let’s be clear: $30,000 is a drop in the bucket to JPMorgan and Citigroup. Heck, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon makes more than $30,000 in just a few hours.

The big banks have thrown around money for years, spending more than a $1 million a day to hold off Dodd-Frank and the consumer agency. But they are moving out of the shadows. They have reached a new level of brazenness, demanding that Senate Democrats grovel before them.  

That kind of swagger is a warning shot. They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right.

Ok, they have taken their shot, but it will not work.

I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policymaking apparatus. I’m not going to stop talking about the settlement agreements that JPMorgan makes with our Justice Department that are so weak, the bank celebrates by giving their executives a raise. And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called “too big to fail” banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008.

The big banks have issued a threat, and it’s up to us to fight back. It’s up to us to fight back against a financial system that allows those who broke our economy to emerge from a crisis in record-setting shape while ordinary Americans continue to struggle. It’s up to us to fight back against a regulatory system that is so besieged by lobbyists – and their friends in Congress – that our regulators forget who they’re working for.

Let’s send the biggest banks on Wall Street our own message: We’re going to keep fighting, and your swagger and your threats won’t stop us. Help us match their $30,000 right now.

Hidden in the fine print

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The United States is in the final stages of secret, closed-door negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade agreement with 11 other countries.

Who will benefit from it? One provision hidden in the fine print – “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” – may sound harmless, but don’t let that fool you: ISDS could let foreign companies challenge US laws without ever stepping in an American court.

That would undermine US sovereignty and tilt the playing field even further in favor of multinational corporations.

Sign my petition and spread the word: ISDS is a bad deal for America.

Here’s how ISDS would work: Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge that regulation in a US court.

But with ISDS, the company could skip the US courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the multinational company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in US courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions – and even billions – of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Really.

And if the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, giant corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with US operations wanted to challenge our refusal to import a dangerous chemical, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union or human rights group believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the American labor group would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts – and if an environmental group thought the Vietnamese company was dumping waste in their rivers in violation of the new trade agreement, they would have to go to a Vietnamese court as well. In other words, the great deal for corporations is only for corporations – everyone else is left out.

Giving foreign corporations special rights to challenge our laws outside of our legal system would be a bad deal for America. Sign my petition to say no to ISDS.

Opposing ISDS isn’t a partisan issue – even your Tea Party relatives should be worried about this dangerous provision:

  • Conservatives who believe in US sovereignty should be outraged that ISDS would shift power from American courts, whose authority is derived from our Constitution, to unaccountable international tribunals.
  • Libertarians should be offended that ISDS effectively would offer a free taxpayer subsidy to countries with weak legal systems.
  • And progressives should oppose ISDS because it would allow big multinational corporations to weaken labor and environmental rules.

If a final TPP agreement includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the only winners will be multinational corporations. Join me in saying No to ISDS.

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Never afraid

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Elizabeth Warren and John Lewis - Selma AnniversaryYesterday morning, the church service at First Baptist in Montgomery started the way so many church services start – with warm hellos and plenty of donuts and coffee in the church basement.

But then I met an elderly man who told me he had been in that basement for 11 hours in May of 1961, along with hundreds of people, while a mob outside tried to burn down the church.

This was Dr. Ralph Abernathy’s church, the Brick-a-Day Church. It had been a center for civil rights organizing, and a sanctuary for Freedom Riders and others in the movement who were under attack.

The elderly man described the calls from the church phone, placed by Dr. King to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, asking for help.  He said that at first Kennedy had promised to call out the National Guard, but the Guard was local, and many of those men were now part of the mob. The people trapped in the church needed the Army, and Kennedy promised to send it from a military base several hours away. So the man described what it was like to wait in the sweltering basement, listening to the mob outside.  

After the church service, I spoke with Rep. John Lewis about that night. I asked him if he had been worried that Kennedy wouldn’t send troops. A mob was upon them, and help was far away. But John Lewis said, “I was never, ever, ever afraid. You come to that point where you lose all sense of fear.”

Four years after the siege of First Baptist, 25-year-old John Lewis had already faced beatings and threats as he prepared to march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965. On the day that became Bloody Sunday, the day John Lewis was beaten to the ground and his skull was fractured, he faced it fearlessly, carrying a backpack containing a toothbrush, an apple, and books on religion and politics.

On Saturday, Bruce and I sat behind John Lewis on a bus from Montgomery to Selma to the ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of that march – on the same road the marchers took from Selma to Montgomery. John Lewis pointed out every marker along the way: the airport where people arrived to join the march, the places where they camped, the hospital where people took refuge, until we reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where John Lewis had nearly died.

John Lewis told us that his parents didn’t want him to get involved in civil rights. They didn’t want him to cause trouble. But he had done it anyway. Sometimes it is important to cause necessary trouble, he told us.

In the past half-century, thanks to the necessary trouble of heroes like John Lewis, our country has made great progress – but not enough progress. There are those who want to take away votes, those who want to make it harder to get an education, and those who believe that justice and dignity are reserved only for some people.

The Supreme Court has now struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act. Too many young men have died in police custody. And the grinding heel of poverty has borne down harder on children of color. We celebrate the brave people of Selma, but it is up to US to make change now.

  • It’s up to us to make sure every child can walk down the street free from fear and distrust.
  • It’s up to us to ensure our justice system works fairly for all Americans.
  • It’s up to us to make sure our government and our political system serve not just the richest people and the most powerful corporations, but that our government serves ALL people.
  • It’s up to us to build a future so that ALL of our children have the opportunity to succeed.

As Bruce and I left the Pettus bridge on Saturday, Juanita Abernathy, Dr. Abernathy’s widow, took my hand. She leaned in and said, “It’s not about politics. It’s about what’s right.”

We spent this weekend learning more about the civil rights movement and about the work to be done. It’s profoundly important work. But for me, this trip was also a chance to hear first-hand about courage and deep faith, about the certainty of what must be done, and about the willingness to take it on.   

The power of Selma is hope – hope that change can happen. It's not a passive hope, but a hope that demands that we make the necessary trouble that will build a better world.

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Let the NLRB do its job

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At every turn, organized labor has been there, fighting on behalf of the American people.

But today, instead of implementing policies that strengthen the middle class, Republicans in Congress are pushing a bill to stop the National Labor Relations Board from modernizing its procedures because it just might help – yes, I said help – America’s workers.

The only way we’ll stop this from happening is by raising our voices as loudly as possible. Join me right now to tell Congress to let the NLRB do its job.

Coming out of the Great Depression, America’s labor unions helped build America’s strong middle class. For half a century, as America’s union membership went up, America’s median family income went up, and that was true for families whether they were part of a union or not.

Since 1935, Congress has required the National Labor Relations Board to oversee the workplace elections in which workers decide whether to be represented by a union. More than 90 percent of the time when there’s an election, it all goes smoothly. Employees and employers agree about the process, and an election is held without dispute. Done.

But, in the remaining cases, the rules on how to resolve these concerns have turned into a mess. Over time, a hodgepodge of different rules for resolving these disputes emerged in each of the country’s 26 NLRB regions.

To fix this, the NLRB recently finalized national rules that set out the procedures for resolving pre-election issues and conducting elections. In other words, the NLRB is trying to make dispute resolution clearer, more efficient and more consistent from region to region. This is good for workers.

Trying to make government work better shouldn’t be controversial. But it is controversial. Why? Because some employers like the broken tangled rules. They have learned that they can game the system and oppose union votes all together. They don’t want the NLRB to work, so they are lobbying against these new rules.

And Congressional Republicans are standing up for them, advancing a proposal to stop the NLRB from implementing its final rules.

We can’t let Congress promote an inefficient system that gives employers room to manipulate the process and block workers from organizing. Join me right now to tell Congress: Let the NLRB do its job.

Republicans claim they’re concerned about workers being able to “ambush” their employers with workplace elections. That’s just plain nonsense.

Let’s be honest – the only ambush here is the Republican ambush on worker’s basic rights.

According to a 2011 study from the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, long election delays correspond with higher rates of labor law violations. A delay gives anti-union employers more time to retaliate against union organizers and to intimidate workers.

So it comes down the question I’ve asked before: who does this Congress work for?  

Republicans say government should keep on working for employers who don’t like unions and who have figured out how to exploit a tangled system. They complain about government inefficiencies, but then they introduce a bill that is specifically designed so that a broken, inefficient system will stay broken and inefficient – even when we know how to fix it.  

But we weren’t sent here just to represent employers who don’t like unions. We’re here to support working people who just want a fighting chance to level the playing field.

Join me right now to tell Congress to let the NLRB do its job.

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I'll believe it when I see it

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So far in this new Congress, Republicans have spent weeks debating a pipeline that will mostly benefit a giant foreign oil company – and weeks more threatening a government shutdown of the Homeland Security Department. Meanwhile, millions of people who work hard and play by the rules are still getting squeezed to the breaking point.  

The Republicans prove once again how Washington works just fine for giant corporations, but not so much for working people.  

It’s time to make different choices – to stand up to the armies of lobbyists and lawyers to begin to make the government work for the middle class once again. That's why this week, Rep. Elijah Cummings and I have launched the new Middle Class Prosperity Project: to push this new Congress to take action to help working people.

Recently, Republicans seem to have discovered the struggles of America’s middle class. Out of nowhere, they’re talking about this problem.

That’s great, but talk is cheap. And when it comes to action, these Republicans seem to have amnesia about what they have actually done to hard-working Americans.

Republican trickle-down policies created tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy while leaving working families to pick up the pieces. I’ll believe Republicans care about what’s happening to America’s middle class when they stop blocking legislation that would require billionaires to pay taxes at the same rate as teachers and firefighters.

Republican trickle-down economics blocked increases in the minimum wage that would have lifted 14 million people out of poverty. I’ll believe Republicans care about what’s happening to America’s working families when they stop blocking minimum wage increases and agree that no should work full time and still live in poverty.

Republican trickle-down economics squeezed billions of dollars of profit out of people who had to borrow money to go to college. I’ll believe Republicans care about what’s happening to America’s future when they agree to refinance student loans.

I could go on, but the point is the same: talk is cheap.

We know how to build a strong middle class. We’ve done it. And we know that the policies we put together here in Washington can make a big difference. That’s what our new Middle Class Prosperity Project is all about: bringing together leaders in Washington, economists and policy experts, and millions of voices of people across the country to get to work.

It’s time for action that will strengthen middle class families and build a strong future. It’s time to put up or shut up.

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Retirement advice should be in your best interest

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People face a lot of challenges when they try to save for retirement, but one of the biggest challenges lurks mostly out of sight.

How do you know when a retirement advisor or broker is doing what’s best for you, and how do you know when they are just doing what’s best for them?

Many retirement advisors recommend investments that work best for the customers they work for. But some don’t. Those advisors and brokers recommend investments based on what’s best for them – and what fees, bonuses, free vacations, cars, and other kickbacks the advisor can earn from selling a lousy product.

Today I joined President Obama and Labor Secretary Tom Perez to call for more transparency and stronger rules to make sure the retirement advice you receive is always in your best interest. Join us in saying that it’s time to fix this broken system.

Numerous studies, including some from Harvard and MIT, have found that some advisors consistently steer customers to the highest fee products – despite the fact that high fee funds don’t perform any better, and often perform worse, than low fee funds. And the worst part? For large portions of the retirement market, it’s perfectly legal to push these lousy investment products.

That makes it really tough for unsuspecting customers who could lose thousands – or hundreds of thousands – of dollars in retirement savings when they fall into the hands of the wrong advisor.

And it makes it really tough for the thousands of honest advisors and brokers who already put their clients first. Right now they have to compete against the unethical advisors who don’t. That’s not a level playing field – it’s a broken system.

Today, we begin to fix it. Today, we begin to stand up for the millions who are trying to set aside some money for a decent retirement. And today, we begin to stand up for the honest retirement advisors who are working hard to help them.

Join President Obama and me in saying it’s time to do what we should have done years ago: it’s time to end the bonuses, the fees, the free vacations, the fancy cars, and the other incentives to sell bad products to unsuspecting customers – and to ensure that all of our retirement advisors, not just some of them, are looking out for the best interests of the people they serve.

Our Valentine's Day cake

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I still remember the call in the middle of the night.

I was in a deep sleep, and I didn’t wake up enough to be alarmed about a call at this hour.  

My brother was on the line. It was bad news. My mother was dead.

I still wasn’t alarmed. I was just confused. How could she be dead? We’d just seen her early that day. She’d been in the hospital for some surgery, but everything was great and she was going home in the morning. No, she was going home this morning.  

A few days later the doctor called. He said the autopsy showed she’d had a massive heart attack. The happenstance of her being in the hospital with a team of doctors and nurses nearby meant that she’d had terrific care from the instant she’d felt the pain, but the doctor explained, "There was no hope." She died immediately.

Then he explained that my mother had advanced heart disease and that there was evidence of old damage.  He said her heart was barely functioning.  

Advanced heart disease?  

She had been to doctors. Shoot, she’d had a full medical work up a few weeks before the surgery. But no one had ever considered heart disease because, back in the 1990s – just like in the 1890s – heart disease was a "man’s disease."

Today, women get more complete medical care. And they need it. Coronary heart disease is the Number One killer of both men and women. And certain heart diseases are far more likely to affect women than men.

We do better now in treating women because of medical research, including a lot of work supported by the National Institutes of Health. Not only have they raised awareness of the problems of heart disease in women, they have also worked on prevention efforts. For example, we know that low dose aspirin therapy impacts women’s health differently than men’s because of the Women’s Health Study – a 10 year initiative conducted by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston. We know that taking hormone replacement therapy after menopause does not protect women’s cardiovascular health because of findings from several studies, including the Women’s Health Initiative. And we better understand cardiovascular risks and causes of cardiovascular disease because we have been collecting data on women’s and men’s heart health since 1948 through the Framingham Heart study – a collaboration between the NIH, Boston University, and the people of Framingham Massachusetts.

My mother was born on Valentine’s Day, and when I was a kid I started baking her a heart shaped cake each year. I still have the pans and I still bake a cake. This year, my granddaughter and I worked on it together. But now I do something more: I fight for more funding for NIH research so that other mothers will get earlier treatment and live longer, healthier lives – and they can celebrate more birthdays with their children and their grandchildren.

Fighting for more NIH research: It seems like the right way to remember someone you love.

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What would you do if you got hit by a bus?

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What would you do if you got hit by a bus tomorrow and couldn’t work for the rest of your life? How would you pay the rent or put groceries on the table? What would happen to your family?

For millions of Americans, this isn’t just some sort of “what if” nightmare that keeps them up late at night. In fact, a young worker today has a 1 in 3 chance of either dying or needing disability income before reaching the full Social Security retirement age.  

I know, this is a dark way to start an email. But it raises an issue that should matter to everyone in this country.

Social Security is a critical part of our country’s safety net to keep people out of poverty. And instead of trying to strengthen that safety net, Republicans are manufacturing a Social Security crisis so they can attack benefits for millions of disabled Americans.

We are Americans – and we don’t turn our backs on the promises we’ve made to our families, our friends, and our neighbors who need our help the most. Raise your voice to tell the Republicans to keep their hands off Social Security benefits that help America’s most vulnerable.

Here’s the background: the Social Security system has two separate funds – one for seniors and survivors, and one for people with disabilities. Over the years, Congress has routinely shifted tax dollars back and forth between the funds.

It’s never been a big deal – until last month when House Republicans passed a technical rules change to prevent Congress from moving money from the old-age fund to the disability insurance fund.

We’ve known for years that Social Security Disability Insurance is set to run low in 2016, and most people assumed that another bipartisan reallocation was coming. But now, thanks to the Republican ideological war on our most important national safety net, disabled Americans could suddenly face a 20% cut in their Social Security checks next year.   

The bottom line is clear: Republicans want to dismantle Social Security inch by inch, even if it means concocting a crisis to pit America’s seniors against America’s disabled.

Join us now to tell Republicans: Protect Social Security for our seniors AND our disabled Americans.

Republicans want to pretend this fight is all about dollars and cents. But at the end of the day, this is about a lot more than accounting: It’s about our values.

I’ll say it again: We are not a country that turns our backs on people with diseases like multiple sclerosis or terminal cancer while extending tax break after tax break for the rich and powerful. We do not believe that people who suffer devastating accidents or struggle with debilitating mental illnesses should be left in deep poverty while Congress keeps the perks flowing to the big banks and anyone else who can afford to hire an army of lawyers and lobbyists.

I believe we honor our promises, we make good on a system that millions of people paid into faithfully throughout their working years, and we support the rights of people to live with dignity.

Join me now – and fight back – by signing up to protect Social Security from the latest Republican onslaught.

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My new bill: A swear jar for the drug companies

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Over the past 50 years, America’s medical innovations have transformed the health of billions of people around the world.

One way we’ve done that? Blockbuster drugs. Today, about 100 different drugs are used by so many people that each brings in more than a billion dollars a year in revenue. Just 10 drug companies generate more than $100 billion in sales for drugs that treat high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia. Those drugs do a huge amount of good, but they also produce huge profits; over the past 20 years, profits for S&P 500 companies have been in the 5-10% range, while profits for the blockbuster drug companies have been in the 18-24% range.

Those very valuable blockbuster drugs don’t just appear overnight as if by magic. They are the end result of generations of huge taxpayer investments, principally through the National Institutes of Health. Drug companies make great contributions, but so do taxpayers. Put simply, the astonishing scientific and financial successes of the pharmaceutical industry have been built on a foundation of taxpayer investment.

With revolutionary new treatments and a giant drug industry built on blockbuster drugs, this should be a moment of great triumph. But in recent years, the American engine of medical innovation has begun to sputter. Why?

  • Government funding. Congress used to work in a non-political, bipartisan way to expand NIH funding. But instead of increasing the NIH budget at the pace of potential scientific innovation, budget cuts, sequestration, and other pressures mean that the NIH budget over the last decade hasn’t even kept up with the pace of inflation.
  • Drug companies. Over the last ten years, some of our wealthiest drug companies – the ones with those blockbuster billion-dollar drugs – have found another way to boost profits. In addition to selling life-changing cures, some of these companies are increasingly making money by skirting the law. They’ve been caught defrauding Medicare and Medicaid, withholding critical safety information about their drugs, marketing their drugs for uses they aren’t approved for, and giving doctors kickbacks for writing prescriptions for their drugs.

Between these two problems – shrinking government support for research and increased rule-breaking by companies that have blockbuster drugs – lies a solution: requiring those big-time drug companies that break the law to put more money into funding medical research.  

That’s why I’m introducing the Medical Innovation Act to substantially increase federal funding for the National Institutes of Health.

Here’s how it works: Just like the big banks, when blockbuster drug companies break the law, they nearly always enter settlement agreements with the government, rather than going to trial.

Under the proposed Medical Innovation Act, those blockbuster drug companies that wanted to settle legal violations would be required to reinvest a relatively small portion of the profits it they have generated as a result of federal research investments right back into the NIH.

This isn’t a tax. This is simply a condition of settling to avoid a trial in a major case of wrongdoing. If a company never breaks the law, it will never pay the fee. If an accused company goes to trial instead of settling out of court, it will never pay the fee – even if it loses the case. It’s like a swear jar – break the law and pay something forward that benefits everyone.

If this policy had been in place, over the past five years, NIH would have had about six billion more dollars every year to fund thousands of new grants to scientists and universities and research centers around the country. That’s nearly a 20% increase in NIH funding.  

The Medical Innovation Act would substantially increase federal support for medical research without increasing the deficit or cutting other critical programs. Sign up now to show your support.

With too many in Congress willing to sit by and watch the NIH starve – and too many in pharmaceutical industry willing to make a quick buck by breaking the law, it’s easy for cynicism to set in – and it’s easy for us to forget the commitments that we’ve all made to each other.  

Today we are choking off support for projects that could lead to the next major breakthrough against cancer, heart disease, Ebola, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, or other deadly conditions. We’re starving projects that could transform the lives of our children on the autism spectrum. We’re suffocating breakthrough ideas that would give new hope to those with ALS.

That’s not who we are. We are not a nation that abandons the sick. We are nation of people who invest in each other – because we know that when we work together, we all do better. We’ve done it for generations – and for generations, we have led the world in medical innovation.

It is time to renew our commitment – our commitment to our children, to our parents and to ourselves. I hope you’ll stand with me in this fight.

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