Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | Back issues
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Obama to Pressure|Wall Street on Reform

WASHINGTON (CN) - President Obama is headed to lower Manhattan on Thursday to make an aggressive call for reform on Wall Street. Obama will "remind the American people what's at stake" in financial reform, according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "The President will urge Wall Street to join him in the effort to reform the financial system -- not fight it."

The address comes as the Senate is scheduled to debate a financial overhaul bill in the next few days.

When asked if Obama would ask Wall Street to call off aggressive lobbying against the bill, Gibbs said, "It's a safe bet that the lobbyists will be mentioned as part of this."

Although Republicans and Democrats were at first fiercely split over the financial reform bill, Republicans have since relaxed their tone of opposition. The shift suggests that the bill may pass in the Senate quickly.

The head sponsor of the bill, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has held talks with several Republicans, including Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

"Clearly some Republican opposition has been overcome," Gibbs said.

A promising sign of cooperation came yesterday when Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, voted with 12 Democrats to approve a measure toughening restrictions on derivatives. The bill passed 13-8 in the Senate Agricultural Committee.

Obama has stated that he wants the bill on his desk in time for the country to have "new rules" in place for the financial system by the time of second anniversary of the economic collapse. Gibbs said the Senate is "on the cusp" of passing the bill.

The major facets of the bill include consumer protection measures, ending the era of "too big to fail" and bringing the derivatives market "into the light." Democrats have repeatedly called for bringing derivatives "out of the shadow economy."

Democrats continue to paint the reform bill as a way to drag the financial industry into the spotlight, giving Americans more information about their financial transactions.

"In many ways reform is simple in the premise of having it brought out of the dark and into the light," Gibbs said.

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