Obama Trains Fire on GOP Over Wall Street Bill

Posted May 6, 2010 at 12:14pm

President Barack Obama on Thursday blasted a Senate GOP proposal aimed at significantly scaling back consumer protections in financial reform legislation and warned that bipartisanship hinges on “good faith” efforts to work together.

Obama criticized Republicans for trying to “obstruct progress and weaken reform” throughout debate on the financial overhaul. He pointed to an amendment by Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as an example.

The GOP proposal, which is scheduled for a vote Thursday afternoon, would establish a Division of Consumer Financial Protection within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. This would replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Democrats are trying to establish at the Federal Reserve.

The amendment “will gut consumer protections and is worse than the status quo. I will not allow amendments like this one written by Wall Street’s lobbyists to pass for reform,” the president said.

Obama warned that he wants to work with both parties to pass financial reform but that alternative proposals, such as the Shelby-McConnell amendment, that “do nothing to empower the American people by cracking down on unfair and predatory practices are unacceptable.”

Earlier Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled that Members may be looking at a late night as the chamber slogs through amendments to the financial reform bill. He has said he wants to wrap up consideration of the Wall Street bill next week.