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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid