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Obama Hails Financial Reform Deal

U.S. President Barack Obama says he is "gratified" by progress made by Congress on a sweeping financial reform bill.

Lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the Senate hammered out the final details of an overhaul of the country's financial regulations in a 20-hour-long negotiating session that ended early Friday.

Speaking Friday before his departure for the economic summits of world leaders in Canada, Mr. Obama said the bill will help hold Wall Street accountable and prevent another financial crisis like the one from which the U.S. is currently recovering.

He said the new bill contains provisions to protect consumers and to limit risky financial practices blamed for sparking the global recession.

The new measures must still be approved by the full House and Senate, but leading lawmakers say they expect President Obama will be able to sign the bill into law by July 4.

Mr. Obama said the bill contains "90 percent" of what he had proposed and presents the toughest U.S. financial industry reforms since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The House of Representatives first passed a financial reform bill last December. The Senate passed its own version of the bill in May. Lawmakers from both bodies have been working to reconcile the differences since then.

Banks have complained that the new regulations will hurt their profits, but President Obama has said the reforms will make the financial system more transparent and "not stifle" the free market.

In May, Mr. Obama said the goal is not "to punish the banks," but to protect the larger economy and the American people from the kind of "upheavals" they have faced in the past few years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.