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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid