Maine's Angus King Cites Glass-Steagall In Maiden Senate Speech
April 25, 2013 • 9:05AM

Sen. Angus King rose on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday to deliver his maiden speech, when, in the words of the U.S. Senate website, new senators end the "ritual of remaining silent during floor debates for a period of time." The new Senator from Maine did not get into many specifics in his presentation of his view of the proper functioning of our government, but one such specific he did address, was his preference for the restoration of the Glass-Steagall law, over the burdensome regulations of the Dodd-Frank legislation which he does not "believe are going to contribute to a solution."

"Overreaching regulation, in my view, is a problem," Senator King said. "I believe in structural solutions. I wasn't a member of this body, but had I been, I suspect I would have opposed Dodd-Frank and supported the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act. I think that's a structural solution..." He went on to cite the case of Bangor Savings Bank as typical of the community banks which didn't cause the recession, but are going to have to bear the brunt of regulations that are expensive and driving up costs for their customers.

Although King made no mention of it, two weeks before, both houses of the Maine state legislature had passed "Joint Resolution Memorializing The United States Congress To Reinstitute The Glass-Steagall Act," by unanimous consent. Following its April 4 passage by the state senate, Maine State Senator John Patrick, the primary sponsor of the resolution, issued a press release specifying that his "efforts coincide with a national effort among state legislators to pressure Congress to reinstate Glass-Steagall. U.S. Senator Angus King and U.S. Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree have all expressed support for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. Representatives Michaud and Pingree are cosponsors for a bill currently under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives that would effectively restore the law."

In concluding his 25-minute speech, Sen. King reflected on how grave a threat the United States faces today. He invoked the words of "our greatest president," President Abraham Lincoln, in his December 2, 1862, message to Congress. King said Lincoln's message was "about change, and how to deal with change, and about how to shake Congress out of a lethargy of politics-as-usual, because we were in the middle of a civil war. Now, I can't argue that the crises we face today collectively or individually equal the Civil War," said King. "But they are pretty serious. I've been in hearings in the last two weeks, in the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, and every single one of the top professionals in both defense and intelligence have said this is the most dangerous and complicated period they have experienced in their 35, 40, or 50 years in this business. So we are facing some very serious challenges."

King then recited from Lincoln's 1862 address: "The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew," King said, adding then: "And here's the key line: "We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

"We must disenthrall ourselves," and think in new ways, King repeated, "and then we shall save our country."