Blanche Lincoln

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Blanche Lincoln previously served as a Senator for Arkansas

Blanche Lambert Lincoln, a Democrat, is a former U.S. Senator from Arkansas, having served 1999 to 2011.[1]

Record and controversies

S.3217 Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010

As the Senate began the debating the financial reform bill, Bank Reform Bill 2010 in May, Senator Lincoln decided to take an tough stance against banks regarding derivatives trading.[2] Lincoln initially had success getting language into the bill (Section 716) which geared toward separating traditional banking activity from speculative activity in the derivatives or "swaps" market and separating the speculative activity from the taxpayer guarantee. Her provisions which were rolled into the larger Senate financial reform bill, "will force the biggest banks to spin off their swaps (or derivatives) desks into a separate entity. That entity will be regulated and can remain part of the bank holding company, but it no longer has access to the Federal Reserve's flow of funds, FDIC insurance and the taxpayer guarantee. Supporters include legendary economists and public policy experts such as Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Nouriel Roubini, and Michael Greenberger." [3] The derivatives measure in the bill will target the five largest banks that account for 90% of the these derivative measures. [4] " Lincoln's amendment will go right after the deals that Goldman Sachs is now being officially investigated for and Lincoln's language is #1 on their hit list." [5] "These five bank-dealers can fund their swaps trading units with FDIC-insured deposits. They have access to the Federal Reserve's discount window, which allows them to borrow money for gambling in swaps at near-zero percent interest rates. But these government supports were created to reassure the public that their deposits are safe, and to protect banks from runs on their deposits –- not to help banks finance their own casinos." [6]

"The swaps business, which accounts for billions in bank profits, is so desirable that the banks have all but given up fighting other restraints on their derivatives business." [7] Lincoln's provision in the financial reform bill faces opposition from some big name officials. The chairman of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of Treasury oppose the derivative measure, arguing that it goes too far. [8] Initially critical of the derivative provision, Paul Volcker has changed his stance on the amendment. [9] However, many of Lincoln's supporters argue that the derivative measure in the bill correctly affirms bank's separate role in serving the public. If a bank is acting within its traditional role as a public lender to consumers, it is entitled to public protection such as backing from the FDIC. [10] Wray continues to frame Lincoln's bill in this manner: "Here is the choice she offers: you can continue with your derivatives, acting against the public interest, or you can be a bank. You cannot be both. Take your choice: blood-sucking vampire squid? Or, serve the public interest. If you go for squid, you lose all public protection. In that case, you go "free market" with all that entails-higher costs of borrowing, 100% downside risk, and prosecution when you lie and deceive." [11]

Lincoln's toughest challenge regarding the derivatives provision is that it is only included in the Senate Finance Regulation bill, not the House version. [12] "The banks have several strong allies on Capitol Hill when it comes to diluting the Lincoln provision. House Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank is not in favor of the provision. Nor is Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd. FDIC head Shelia Bair and Fed chief Ben Bernanke are also reportedly opposed." [13] In contrast, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) said Ms. Lincoln is now in a stronger position. "She returns as the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, running for re-election in November, which I think gives her a strong bargaining position." [14]

Without Senator Lincoln's efforts in addressing derivatives in the financial reform bill, there would be no other similar action. Congress has talked about getting tough with banks, but 18 months later, nothing has been done. [15] 97% of all swaps continue to be traded by five major banks. [16] "Lincoln's amendment doesn't end the trading. It does, however, force it onto a "transparent" market so everyone knows who's trading what and at what price. Also, it would give regulators an unrestricted view of it for the first time and force derivative-trading banks to do so through an arm's-length subsidiary so the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (and you and I) aren't left holding the banks' empty bags again." [17]

After House and Senate deliberating over merging the Senate and House versions of the bill, the final version of the Financial Reform Bill has watered down Lincoln's derivatives provision originally in the Senate version of the bill. The final version of the bill will include this provision regarding derivatives: "require banks to spin off only their riskiest derivatives trading operations into affiliates. Banks would be able to retain operations for interest-rate swaps, foreign-exchange swaps, and gold and silver swaps among others. Firms would be required to push trading in agriculture, uncleared commodities, most metals, and energy swaps to their affiliates." [18] This will tamp down speculation in important consumer commodities like gas and food, but do little to rein in speculation in other markets. The problem with the compromise is the fact that the credit derivative units that banks are allowed to keep comprise a great portion of the derivative business. Banks will be able to continue dealing interest rate and foreign exchange swaps, which make up the largest portion of derivative business. [19]

H.R. 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health care reform)

On December 9, 2009, Senator Lincoln was one of ten Democratic Senators to reach what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called a “broad agreement”[1]on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The discussion focused on abandoning or greatly narrowing the public health insurance option. In exchange, people 55-64 would be able to buy in to Medicare and Medicaid eligibility would be expanded to people within 150 percent of the federal poverty line. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office released a statement on the compromise:

"I asked Senators Schumer and Pryor to work with some of the most moderate and most progressive members of our diverse caucus, and tonight they have come to a consensus. 
It is a consensus that includes a public option and will help ensure the American people win in two ways: one, insurance companies will face more competition, and two, the American people will have more choices. I know not all 10 Senators in the room agree on every single detail of this, nor will all 60 members of my caucus. But I know we all appreciate the hard work that these progressives and moderates have done to move this historic debate forward. I want to thank Senators Schumer, Pryor, Brown, Carper, Feingold, Harkin, Landrieu, Lincoln, Nelson and Rockefeller for working together for the greater good and never losing sight of our shared goal: making it possible for every American to afford to live a healthy life. As is long-standing practice, we do not disclose details of any proposal before the Congressional Budget Office has a chance to evaluate it. We will wait for that to happen, but in the meantime, tonight we are confident." [2]

H.R. 1424 (2008 Bailout Bill)

Lincoln voted for the 2008 Bailout Bill [3] in October 2008.

Iraq War

Lincoln voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.


Lincoln was born in September 30, 1960 in Helena, Arkansas. She graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1982. She studied law at the University of Arkansas.

Immediately after graduating, she became staff assistant to Congressman Bill Alexander and served in his office until 1984. Lincoln ran successfully against Alexander in the Democratic primary of 1992 and took his seat in the U.S. House. Lincoln served in the House until 1997.

In 1998, Lincoln returned to politics and ran for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Democrat Dale Bumpers. She defeated her Republican opponent, Fay Boozman, by a margin of 55%-42%. She was the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Senate at the age of 38.

Lincoln has concentrated primarily on rural and farm issues. She is one of the primary advocates of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), which is designed to spur development in the lower Mississippi Delta region. She is also the Chair of Rural Outreach for the Senate Democratic Caucus.

She is considered to be a moderate or Centrist Democrat. Lincoln was among the minority of Democrats to support CAFTA and she is opposed to most protectionist trade measures. She has voted in favor restricting class action lawsuits and tightening rules on personal bankruptcy. She was one of the few Democrats in Congress to vote in favor of the tax cut passed in 2001, though she now advocates scaling back or eliminating the portions of that tax cut, and other tax cuts, that benefit those tax payers with incomes over $300,000. She supports the permanent elimination of the estate tax. Lincoln voted to ban partial-birth abortions and strongly supported the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to ban lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors.

2008 elections

Before Hillary Clinton conceded the race, Blanche Lincoln, as a superdelegate, had endorsed her for President.

2010 elections

In 2010, Blanche Lincoln lost her senate seat to Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.)[1]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00008092&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Blanche Lincoln
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Blanche Lincoln. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Articles and resources

External Articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Blanche Lincoln profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. Edward Wyatt, "Blanche Lincoln Finds Few Allies on Derivatives Ban,","New York Times," May 15, 2010.
  3. Mary Bottari, "Midnight Massacre Pending, Let's Whip Our Senators,", "BanksterUSA," May 13, 2010.
  4. Id.
  5. Id.
  6. Mary Bottari, "No More Gambling with Taxpayer Money,", "BanksterUSA," June 9, 2010.
  7. Edward Wyatt, "Blanche Lincoln Finds Few Allies on Derivatives Ban,", "New York Times," May 15, 2010.
  8. Id.
  9. Tom Braithwaite, "Wall Street Faces Defeat in Push to Retain Swaps Desks,", "Financial Times," June 14, 2010.
  10. L. Randall Wray, "Senator Blanche Lincoln's Derivatives Reform Bill Must Pass,", "Huffington Post, April 22, 2010.
  11. Id.
  12. John Carney, "Blanche Lincoln's Victory May Kill Derivatives Limit in Financial Regulation Bill,", "CNBC," June 9, 2010.
  13. Id.
  14. Michael R. Crittenden and Victoria McGrane,"Win By Lincoln Rejuvenates Overhaul Effort,", "Wall Street Journal," June 10, 2010.
  15. Alan Guebert, "Arkansas Senator has Mettle to Change Derivatives,", "Columbus Telegram," June 21, 2010.
  16. Id.
  17. Id.
  18. Victoria McGrane, "Major Provisions in the Financial Overhaul Bill,", "Wall Street Journal," June 25, 2010.
  19. Shahien Nasiripour, "Financial Reform Bill Passes,", "Huffington Post," June 25, 2010.

Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Chair of Rural Outreach
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Nutrition and Food Assistance Sustainable and Organic Agriculture and General Legislation, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Production Income Protection and Price Support, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization Conservation Forestry and Credit, Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on National Parks, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on Water and Power, Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Committee on Finance/Subcommittee on Energy Natural Resources and Infrastructure, Senate Committee on Finance/Subcommittee on Health Care, Senate Committee on Finance/Subcommittee on International Trade and Global Competitiveness
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 3, 1998
First Took Current Office:
January 6, 1999
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
U.S. House, 1993-96,Co-founder, Blue Dog Coalition,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 155 East Waterman, Dumas, AR 71639
Phone: 870-382-1023 / Fax: 870-382-1026
2. Federal Building, 615 South Main Street, Suite 315, Jonesboro, AR 72401
Phone: 870-910-6896 / Fax: 870-910-6898
3. 912 West Fourth Street, Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-375-2993, 800-352-9364 / Fax: 501-375-7064
4. Miller County Courthouse, 400 Laurel Street, Suite 101, Texarkana, AR 71854
Phone: 870-774-3106 / Fax: 870-774-7627

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: September 30, 1960