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Obama: New Financial Rules Needed To Prevent New Crisis

  • Kent Klein

President Barack Obama says tougher regulation is needed in the U.S. financial industry, to prevent another economic crisis. The president is preparing for a legislative battle with Republicans over his financial overhaul proposal.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama says new rules are needed for Wall Street, to protect American consumers and taxpayers. "Every day we do not act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place, with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities. And if we do not change what led to the crisis, we will doom ourselves to repeat it," he said.

Democrats in the U.S. Senate will try to push forward the president's plan, which would regulate derivatives, the complex financial transactions that critics believe helped start the 2008 economic crisis.

Mr. Obama said Friday he will veto any legislation that does not regulate derivatives.

The legislation would also force large financial companies to pay into an emergency fund for failing banks, to prevent taxpayers from having to do so.

Lawmakers in the president's Democratic Party have not agreed on how far the regulation should go.

Opposition Republicans are ready for a fight. The top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Friday all 40 other Republican Senators have signed a letter opposing the bill and demanding further talks.

The president says Senator McConnell and other Republicans have worked with Wall Street executives to block an overhaul. "The Senate Republican leader came out against the common-sense reforms that we have proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts, when he knows that it would do just the opposite," he said.

The number-two Republican in the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor, says in his party's weekly address the Democrats' spending and government deficits are driving taxes higher.

Two days after the U.S. income tax filing deadline, Cantor is urging a vote for Republicans in the November congressional elections. "You have to take action, so that we can begin to erase our deficits and free our children from our debt," he said.

With health care reform passed and signed, financial reform is now President Obama's top domestic legislative priority.