News / USA

Obama to Use New York Speech to Press for Financial Reform

In a speech in New York City on Thursday, President Barack Obama will again press his case for the U.S. Congress to approve a sweeping financial system reform bill.  The president's return to The Cooper Union college in New York to deliver an urgent message about the need to strengthen financial rules comes as the U.S. Senate prepares for what could be a difficult debate on the legislation.

This will be the fourth address Barack Obama has delivered in New York City, the home of Wall Street, since 2007 when as a candidate for the White House he called for greater accountability, intensified financial oversight, and other steps.

This time, nearing the second anniversary of the U.S. financial crisis, the stakes are higher, with the president and Democrats controlling Congress on the verge of possibly winning approval of the most significant reforms since steps taken following the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Last year, speaking in New York on the first anniversary of the financial crisis, as the U.S. House of Representatives moved toward passing its own version of financial reform, the president delivered this message at New York City's Federal Hall:

"Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard to consequences and expect that next time American taxpayers will be there to break their fall," said President Obama.

Leading up to Thursday's speech, President Obama and administration officials, notably Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have stressed what they call the critical nature of the decisions facing Congress.

"This is going to be the most sweeping set of reforms we have contemplated as a country since those put in place after the Great Depression," said Timothy Geithner. "We let a system designed for a different era fall way behind the curve of risk and innovation in those markets, we never should have let that happen."

The reform bill in the Senate would impose new controls on banks and other institutions aimed at greater transparency and protecting consumers, along with steps to ensure that failures of large institutions do not bring the economy down again.

Referring to what he called clear choices facing Congress and Americans, Vice President Joe Biden referred to an overriding imperative of reform.

"The need to restore trust and credibility in America's financial markets," said Vice President Biden. "Too many market participants themselves, through short-sighted reed have squandered that credibility and I would argue to their own detriment long-term.  Wall Street reform must put a stop to this."

Minority Republicans, who the president has been courting to support the legislation, have asserted that it would amount to authorizing ongoing government bailouts for banks.

On the eve of the president's latest address in New York, administration officials and Democratic congressional leaders voiced hope that Republicans will come on board, as both sides continued negotiations.

Key Senate Republicans voiced optimism on Wednesday that differences could be resolved so a final bill can be called bipartisan.  Senator Richard Shelby responded to criticisms that Republicans, in pushing for changes on key provisions, have somehow been on the wrong side of the financial reform debate:

"I don't think we have ever been on the wrong side of the fence in trying to get a substantive bill that affects the whole economy of the United States of America and the future of job creation," said Senator Shelby.

Senate Banking Committee chairman Democrat Christopher Dodd described what he called the big picture people all involved should keep in mind:

"Whose side are you on?  What more do you need to know?  What has occurred as a result of the near melt-down of the financial system in this country, eight and a half millions jobs, seven million homes, retirement, small business, credit has seized up in the country, we came to the brink of a financial collapse," said Senator Dodd. "What more do you need to know?"

As the Senate prepares to debate financial reform, the administration also criticized what Vice President Biden referred to this week as powerful political lobbying and cynical tactics by opponents of reform.

Wall Street lobbying was the focus of remarks by Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders who urged his colleagues to stand up for the needs of ordinary Americans against big money interests.

"The issue that we are debating now is not whether Congress will regulate Wall Street, it is whether or not Congress will continue to be regulated by Wall Street," said Senator Sanders.

The president's speech also takes place against the background of the Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs, which the government alleges defrauded investors by selling risky mortgage instruments without informing buyers they were assessed as likely to fail.

Anger in Congress over this issue is intense among Democrats and Republicans.  Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns believes Goldman Sachs, which received billions in financial system bailout funds, should offer Americans reparations, and the government should do all it can to probe other instances of alleged wrongdoing.

"The SEC also has a duty to American taxpayers to get to the bottom of this and continue to investigate any abusive practice employed by all financial institutions, not just Goldman Sachs," said Cliff Stearns.

President Obama and administration officials have strongly denied suggestions the White House knew in advance of the SEC lawsuit against Goldman Sachs.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed suggestions that the administration would be concerned that the focus on Goldman Sachs, a key contributor to Democrats as well as Republicans, could carry a price of reduced political contributions in the future.

On the eve of his Thursday address at The Cooper Union college, just a short distance from Wall Street, the president reiterated in a CNBC television interview, that he has been calling for financial reform for years.   

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid