Republican Platform Under Trump Backs Glass-Steagall's Return
Republican National Convention delegates approved a platform Monday that calls for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act and scaling back the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, calling it the Democrats' "legislative Godzilla."
The Glass-Steagall measure puts presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump and his party in the company of unlikely allies such as Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist who ran against Democrat Hillary Clinton on a plan that included Glass-Steagall reinstatement, underscoring the blurring of political lines in the 2016 race.
The platform also embraces Trump's America-first stance on international trade, saying trade agreements -- such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by the Obama administration, though an explicit reference to that deal was removed -- should not be rushed.
Approval came at the party's gathering in Cleveland where Trump is set to formally accept the nomination on Thursday night. The vote came the same day that anti-Trump delegates disrupted a vote on convention rules, a chaotic start to an event intended to display party unity.
The platform says that while international trade is crucial for the economy, "massive trade deficits are not.” It says China cannot be allowed to continue its currency manipulation and calls for “countervailing duties if other countries refuse to cooperate” on parity in trade.
“We need better negotiated trade agreements that put America first,” the platform said. “Republicans understand that you can succeed in a negotiation only if you are willing to walk away form it.”
The platform says significant trade agreements should not be undertaken in a lame-duck Congress.
Trump has been a vocal critic of trade deals such as the TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying they have cost U.S. jobs and should be renegotiated. His stance has pitted him against some party stalwarts and pro-business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"We support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment," said the platform released by the Republican National Committee.
Clinton, whose husband signed a repeal of the law in 1999, doesn't advocate for its return.
“We believe that the Obama-Clinton years have passed legislation that has been favorable to the big banks, which is one of the reason why you see all of the Wall Street money going to her," Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told reporters prior to the platform's approval.
“We are supporting the small banks and Main Street. We talk about legislation that affects, you know, some of the mistakes made in repealing Glass-Steagall and some of the mistakes made in imposing Dodd-Frank. The platform reflects those things," Manafort said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican who was considered as a potential running mate for Trump, said it's not necessarily unusual that Trump's positions on trade and banking may align with some liberals' views.
“If you’ve got a car with a flat tire and the fact that both liberals and conservatives think changing tires would good, may just be a sign of common sense,” Gingrich said in an interview outside of the convention arena.
The 2008 financial crisis resulted from excesses in traditional banking and mortgages, not trading gone awry, Rafferty Capital’s Richard Bove said in phone interview responding to Manafort's comments previewing the Glass-Steagall plank.
Having the law in place probably wouldn't have prevented the 2008 crisis, Bove said, noting that a House GOP financial regulation bill that was in the works for months has no indications of reinstating the measure.
The nonpartisan fact-checker PolitiFact has rated "mostly true" former President Bill Clinton's assertion that his repealing the law didn't directly contribute to the crisis.
The platform draft that was approved also called for Republicans to “advance legislation that brings transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee, and the Federal Reserve’s dealing with foreign banks." It called for an annual audit of the Fed and backed legislation calling for study of “metallic basis” for value of U.S. currency.
Marriage between one man and one woman "is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values," the platform says in a confrontation of a contentious social issue that some younger members of the party see as counterproductive to expanding the GOP's reach.
Religious conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage rights, which were extended nationwide by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, remain an important voting bloc for the Republican Party.
Yet Trump made an overt appeal to gay voters and their allies after the mass shooting at a Florida gay nightclub last month, saying that as president, he would do more for gay people than Clinton would.
Addressing abortion, the platform said, "We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth."
The platform also contains a provision removing reference to a two-state solution to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
"The United States seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region,'' it says. ``We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and call for immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so. Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.''
-- With assistance from Felice Maranz and Nicholas Johnston.