News In Brief

Obama makes push for financial reform in speech

Daryl Paranada Apr 22, 2010

President Obama moved forward with a push for financial regulation during a speech Thursday at Cooper Union in Lower Manhattan. With some of Wall Street’s biggest names in attendance – including Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs, Bruce Thompson of Bank of America, and Barry Zubrow of JPMorgan Chase – Obama asked bankers to embrace new regulations to avoid another financial crisis.

“Ultimately there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We rise or we fall together as one nation. So I urge you to join me,” said Obama.

The president criticized the “failure of responsibility” from Washington to Wall Street “that brought down many of the world’s largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression.”

Obama said that the goal of reform legislation is to make sure taxpayers aren’t on the hook ever again because a firm is deemed “too big to fail.” And he criticized Republicans for suggesting that the legislation will lead to future taxpayer bailouts — calling that assertion “not factually accurate.”

The speech comes at a critical time for the president, as the Senate’s legislation for financial regulation is headed for floor debate.

“A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts,” he said. “That’s the truth. End of story.”

Tune in to Marketplace later for our analysis on how the president’s speech was received. To read the text of Obama’s financial reform speech, click here.

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