News / USA

Obama: 'Enormous' Progress With Financial Reform, Other Actions

President Barack Obama took time at the end of a busy week Friday to cite what he says is enormous progress in repairing the U.S. economy.  The president faces ongoing criticism of his policies from opposition Republicans.

The most significant legislative accomplishment for the president and majority Democrats since the historic health care overhaul achieved earlier this year, is the financial regulatory reform bill Mr. Obama signed on Thursday.

It is the outcome of almost two years of intense debate on Capitol Hill concerning the best ways to respond to excesses on Wall Street, protect consumers, and avoid another financial system collapse.

Speaking in the White House Roosevelt Room, the president said the new law will protect consumers and the economy from recklessness and irresponsibility that led to the worst financial breakdown since the Great Depression.

"It's a reform that will help us put a stop to the abusive practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies and ensure that people get the straight, unvarnished information that they need before they take out a loan or open a credit card," he said. "It will bring the shadowy deals that caused the financial crisis into the light of day, and it will end taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street firms and give shareholders a say on executive compensation."

To underscore his points, the president referred to a new report by Ken Feinberg, who Mr. Obama appointed to oversee compensation issues.  The report said 17 banks gave top executives $1.6 billion in bonuses while they were receiving billions of dollars in government bailout funds.

The president pointed to two other achievements - a six-month extension of emergency government benefits for people out of work, and an initiative to reduce waste in government.

Mr. Obama pressed for Senate action on another piece of legislation; tax incentives and lending for small businesses.  And he sounded a theme he will use as he campaigns for Democratic candidates before the November mid-term congressional elections.

"The folks who I have met with across this country, they cannot afford any more political games," he said.  "They need us to do what they sent us here to do.  They didn't send us here to wage a never-ending campaign; they didn't send us here to do what is best for our political party.  They sent us here to do what is best for the United States of America and all our citizens, whether Democrats or Republicans or Independents.  In other words, they sent us here to govern."

As the president spotlights achievements, Republicans continue to criticize him on virtually every one of his policies.  Indiana Republican Mike Pence asserted that President Obama's policies and those of Democrats will lead to huge tax increases.

"As we have done on their failed stimulus policy, as we have did on their national energy tax, as we did on their government take over of health care, House Republicans will stand in the gap to protect taxpayers from the largest tax increase in American history," he said.

Democratic leaders meanwhile cited Republican opposition as they acknowledged they had given up on passing comprehensive clean energy/climate change legislation before the August recess.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said "Unfortunately this time we don't have a single Republican to work with in achieving this goal," Reid said.  "For me, it is terribly disappointing."

"We will continue to work with the senators to craft important, comprehensive legislation," said Carol Browner, Director of the White House Office on Energy and Climate Change Policy.

Having accomplished the bulk of the pre-congressional recess agenda, the president will increasingly focus on the November congressional elections, campaigning for Democrats and pressing his messages about economic recovery.

The White House announced he will travel to New Jersey next week, a state that remains strongly Democratic.  The unemployment rate there is about 9.6 percent, slightly more than the national level.

Also announced, presidential visits next week and in early August to Chrysler, General Motors and Ford automobile plants in Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. The White House says these will highlight a U.S. auto industry that is strengthening as a result of the president's actions to save it.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid