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Obama: Wall Street Reforms Still Urgently Needed

President Obama records his Weekly Address for 24 Apr 2010
President Obama records his Weekly Address for 24 Apr 2010

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U.S. President Barack Obama says reforms are urgently needed in the financial industry, to prevent a repeat of the crisis that devastated the nation's economy. The Senate is debating a financial overhaul bill.

In his weekly address Saturday, President Obama says reforming the financial system is a necessary part of the country's economic recovery.

"After a recession that stole eight million jobs, this is going to take some time," he said. "And this will require that we continue to tackle the underlying problems that caused this turmoil in the first place.  In short, it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, or we risk repeating it."

The U.S. Senate may debate financial reform legislation in the coming week.  The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday passed a bill which would end taxpayer bailouts of big banks and protect consumers from abusive financial practices.

The House of Representatives approved similar legislation in December.

The president's radio and Internet address follows his Thursday speech near Wall Street in New York, in which he argued for new laws to protect consumers and hold financial firms accountable.

Mr. Obama says it is necessary to end taxpayer bailouts of private companies and make financial deals more transparent. "That is how we will restore trust and confidence in our markets," he said. "That is how we will help to put an end to the cycles of boom and bust that we have seen.  And that is how, after two very difficult years, we will not only revive the economy, but help to rebuild it stronger than ever before."

In the opposition Republican Party's weekly address, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says the Democrat-sponsored Senate bill would not end government bailouts, and Republicans want to continue negotiating.

"It is time for Democrats to put away the political playbook and simply say publicly what they are suggesting privately: that this bill still needs some work, that both parties should come together to do that work on behalf of the American people,"  she said.

While President Obama is promising an end to government bailouts, he says those which have occurred over the past two years have helped prevent millions of people from losing their jobs.

Mr. Obama says the U.S. auto industry has added 45,000 jobs since General Motors emerged from bankruptcy, and Chrysler has reported a profit for the first time since the economic crisis began.  GM says it will repay billions of dollars in U.S. and Canadian government loans five years ahead of schedule.

Also, the president mentioned Friday's U.S. Treasury Department announcement that the bailout of some U.S. industries will likely cost less than $90 billion, down from the original estimate of $500 billion.

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