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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid