Shortly after the Senate passed landmark financial overhaul bill Thursday, clearing the way for it to be sent to his desk, President Barack Obama visited the news cameras outside the White House to praise the lawmakers who made it happen and to vow that the legislation would eventually place the financial markets and economy on sounder footing.
In one of his boldest claims, Obama said the new legislation would mean "no more taxpayer-funded bailouts, period." Expect to hear more from Obama and congressional Democrats on this point as they try to make the case to voters that they and not Republicans are truly the friends of those who spend their time on Main Street, not Wall Street.
Republicans, for their part, had argued in the spring that the legislation would all but ensure future bailouts. More recently, however, they had shifted their critique to say the legislation would create a larger, unaccountable bureaucracy that would create more uncertainty, leading to constrictions on credit that would harm the economy.
In any event, here's Obama's reaction:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody.
With today's vote in the Senate, the United States Congress has
now passed a Wall Street reform bill that will bring greater economic
security to families and businesses across the country.
It was clear from the moment it began that this recession was not
the result of your typical economic downturn. It was the result of
recklessness and irresponsibility in certain corners of Wall Street
that infected the entire economy — irresponsibility that cost
millions of Americans their jobs, and millions more their hard-earned
savings. It's why businesses can't get credit, and why families
haven't been able to see appreciation in their home values; in fact,
the values of their homes have plummeted.
Even before the financial crisis that led to this recession, Ispoke on Wall Street about the need for common-sense reforms to protect consumers and our economy as a whole. But the crisis came, and only underscored the need for the kind of reform the Senate passed today: reform that will protect consumers when they take out a mortgage or sign up for a credit card, reform that will prevent the kind of shadowy deals that led to this crisis, reform that would never again put taxpayers on the hook for Wall Street's mistakes.