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Obama Pushes for Wall Street Reform, Raps GOP Leader

5 years ago
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President Obama pressed hard Saturday for what he called "common sense reforms" to rein in abuses by large investment banks -- and he sharply criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for opposing the legislation to "hold Wall Street accountable."

Although he did not mention McConnell by name, Obama said the Republican leader met recently with Wall Street executives on the reform measure. After that session, the president said McConnell -- "lo and behold" -- made the "cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would some how enable future [bank] bailouts -- when he knows that it would do just the opposite."

McConnell, who met with Obama at the White House on Wednesday -- a meeting that apparently did not go well -- has said the Senate bill would create a "new backdoor mechanism for propping up failing institutions." The bill, he argued, would give more power over troubled banks to federal agencies without forcing those banks to "assume real responsibility for their mistrakes."

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama insisted that isn't the case: "no more taxpayer bailouts. Never again will taxpayers be on the hook because a financial company is deeemed 'too big to fail.'"

The bill, nearing a Senate vote, would increase oversight of the huge financial institutions that were at the center of the 2008 crisis. It would bring more transparency to complicated financial dealings and set up a consumer advocacy bureau at the Federal Reserve. Still at issue is how best to regulate risky trading in exotic financial instruments, such as derivatives. On Friday, Obama, answering a question from Politics Daily's Patricia Murphy, said he would "veto legislation that does not bring the derivatives market under control in some sort of regulatory framework and assures that we don't have the same sort of mess that we've seen in the past." The veto threat came at a meeting of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

After calling out McConnell on Saturday, Obama said "my hope is that we can put politics aside. My hope is that Democrats and Republicans can find common ground and move forward together."
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