President Obama lists Wall Street reforms, challenges Republican opposition

In this week’s address, President Obama gave a list of policy changes that are anticipated under the pending Wall Street reform legislation. He also criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) whom he accused of standing with big banks to block meaningful reform.

The President explained what reform legislation would do:

“First, it would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever. It would put consumers back in the driver’s seat by forcing big banks and credit card companies to provide clear, understandable information so that Americans can make financial decisions that work best for them. Next, these reforms would bring new transparency to financial dealings. . . . [T]hrough reform we’d help ensure that these kind of complicated financial transactions take place on an open market.”

The President continued,

“We’d also close loopholes to stop the kind of recklessness and irresponsibility that we’ve seen. It’s these loopholes that allowed executives to take risks that not only endangered their companies, but also our entire economy. And we’re going to put in place new rules so that big banks and financial institutions will pay for the bad decisions they make – not taxpayers. Simply put, this means no more taxpayer bailouts. Never again will taxpayers be on the hook because a financial company is deemed ‘too big to fail.’ Finally, these reforms hold Wall Street accountable by giving shareholders new power in the financial system. They’ll get a say on pay: a vote on the salaries and bonuses awarded to top executives. And the SEC will ensure that shareholders have more power in corporate elections, so that investors and pension holders have a stronger voice in determining what happens with their life savings.”

Republicans are opposed to the current bill. Mitch McConnell has claimed that the legislation would result in more bailouts. He and the rest of the Senate Republicans have stated that they are prepared to present procedural obstacles to the legislation.

President Obama characterized this opposition as another attempt to maintain the status quo by killing or weakening reform legislation:

“Just the other day, in fact, the Leader of the Senate Republicans and the Chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue. Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican Leader came out against common-sense reforms that we’ve proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts – when he knows that it would do exactly the opposite.”

Here is President Obama’s Weekly Address:

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