Bernie Sanders' Plan to Take on Wall Street Gets Elizabeth Warren's Seal of Approval

Getty Images

One day after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered an impassioned speech vowing to break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions and hold bankers legally accountable for misconduct, the Democratic presidential candidate earned lavish praise Wednesday from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the big bank antagonist and progressive favorite.

Speaking in New York City yesterday, Sanders reiterated his support for Warren's legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, a 1933 statute that separated plain-vanilla commercial banks from riskier investment banks but was repealed under a bipartisan 1999 law signed by President Bill Clinton. Critics of Clinton's deregulation assert that the repeal of the law helped pave the way for the 2008 financial crisis, encouraging the creation of too-big-to-fail megabanks.

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Warren decried the continued existence of such institutions and applauded Sanders for his efforts to "hold big banks accountable":

A coveted endorsement: Warren, who remains neutral in the Democratic presidential race, has also lauded frontrunner Hillary Clinton for her own proposals to rein in Wall Street, despite past criticism that Clinton was too close to the financial industry.

Last month, after Clinton published a New York Times op-ed calling for fees on systemically risky institutions and vowing to push back against GOP efforts to pare back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, Warren tweeted a link to her followers, writing, "I agree with @HillaryClinton."

With the Democratic Party adopting an increasingly progressive line on financial issues following the Great Recession, Warren's praise lends the candidates heft in the liberal populist community that once sought to draft Warren into the 2016 race. While Warren didn't heed those calls, she recently told the Boston Globe that she would likely endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, but that she didn't have a timetable for making that decision.

For Sanders, who's seeking to arrest Clinton's momentum as the Iowa caucuses approach, a Warren endorsement would bring a major shot of adrenaline. Warren suggested last summer that she was open to endorsing Sanders, but she also signed a 2013 letter from Democratic women senators urging Clinton to mount a bid.