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Obama Confident Congress Will Pass Financial Reform

President Barack Obama says he is confident U.S. lawmakers will vote to reform the nation's financial system. Mr. Obama is also optimistic about the overall economic recovery.

President Obama says he expects Congress to pass financial reform legislation, despite the loss of his fellow Democrat, Senator Robert Byrd, who died Monday at the age of 92.

After meeting with Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke, the president told reporters he believes lawmakers from both parties see the need to change procedures on Wall Street.

"It is time we put in place rules that prevent taxpayer bailouts and make sure that we do not have a financial crisis that can tank [ruin] the economy. And I think there is going to be enough interest in moving reform forward that we are going to get this done," he said.

The president and his central bank chief met as a new report said U.S. consumer confidence fell more than expected in June.

Mr. Obama said he and his top economic advisers share the view that the U.S. economy is strengthening and recovering.

"It is actually led by some interesting sectors, like manufacturing, that we have not seen in quite some time," he said. "The tech [technology] sectors are strong. We have gone from losing 750,000 jobs per month to five months of job growth now," said the president.

But U.S. stocks fell sharply in early trading, with most major indexes losing more than two percent, following big losses on many Asian and European markets.

Mr. Obama acknowledged the unemployment rate remains too high, and that more work is needed on the U.S. recovery.

"Unfortunately, because of troubles that we have seen in Europe, we are now seeing some headwinds and some skittishness and nervousness on the part of the markets and on the part of business and investors, and so we are still going to have to work through that."

U.S. joblessness figures for June are due out on Friday. The national unemployment rate for May was 9.7 percent.