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Obama Takes Financial Reform Bill to NY

WASHINGTON (CN) - President Obama will visit New York City on Thursday to showcase his financial reform bill, which the Senate is scheduled to debate this week.

In an address at Cooper Union College in Lower Manhattan, Obama will "remind Americans what is at stake if we do not move forward with changing the rules of the road as a part of a strong Wall Street reform package," the White House announced Monday.

The announcement comes after the Security and Exchange Commission filed a fraud suit Friday against Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, alleging that the company sold investments that were designed to fail and capitalized off the risky securities at the expense of investors.

Obama is calling for these types of securities, called derivatives, to be brought into the light.

It's expected that the action against Goldman Sachs will benefit Democrats in their push for Obama's financial reform package.

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama did not mention Goldman Sachs, but faulted big banks for the financial crisis, saying big firms' practices of withholding information from consumers and failing to self-impose even "modest safeguards" led to the economic meltdown.

He lamented that special interests took a front seat to consumer protective measures. "[T]his crisis could have been avoided," Obama said.

Obama says the bill will ensure more rigid regulatory measures on big banks and ramped up consumer protections, forcing banks and credit card companies to provide consumers more information and requiring banks to take responsibility in the risks they take.

"Our bill ends 'too big to fail,'" Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd, D-Ct., said Monday. "Bailouts end forever."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been repeatedly attacking the bill, calling it "fatally flawed" in a series of Senate floor speeches last week. "It not only allows for endless bailouts for Wall Street. It institutionalizes them," McConnell said.

"It's almost as if the people who wrote this bill took the pulse of the American people and then put together a bill that endorses the very things they found most repugnant about the first bailout," he said.

Obama slammed McConnell in his weekly address, suggesting he is in bed with Wall Street interests and wants to "block progress" on the bill.

Obama said McConnell returned to town after strategizing with executives at large New York firms and "came out against the common-sense reforms we've proposed."

"He made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts - when he knows that it would do just the opposite," Obama said.

Democrats accuse Republicans of wanting to maintain the status quo and endangering taxpayers.

"Every day we don't act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place - with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities. And if we don't change what led to the crisis, we'll doom ourselves to repeat it," Obama said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that Obama is pushing for "swift Senate action" on the bill.

"One way or another, we will move forward," Obama said.

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