Obama Presses for Reform Bill; GOP Complains of Budget Inaction

Posted May 15, 2010 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to highlight the consumer protections and small-business safeguards in financial reform legislation, which he is leaning on the Senate to pass this week.

Obama criticized the “sometimes misleading” rhetoric by GOP critics of reform and said their attacks have “helped to obscure what reform would actually mean for you, the American people.”

The reality, he said, is that financial reform legislation represents “the strongest consumer financial protections in history” with its provisions aimed at curbing predatory practices and providing people with “clear and concise information” to make the best financial decisions.

Financial regulatory reform will also help community banks by subjecting all lenders to tough oversight, Obama said. And it will make the financial system more transparent by bringing “complex back-room deals” into the light of day that helped trigger the economic crisis, he said.

“The reform bill being debated in the Senate will not solve every problem in our financial system; no bill could. But what this strong bill will do is important, and I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible,” the president said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) called attention to GOP proposals for cutting spending and accused Democrats of displaying “a remarkable failure of leadership” for not passing a budget this year.

Lee said House Democratic leaders’ delays in passing a budget resolution is “a missed opportunity” to provide fiscal discipline that could create more jobs and boost the economy. He said the fact that Democrats have no budget plan so far is just the latest sign of their reckless spending spree; other costly measures they have passed include the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus and health care reform.

“This is a recipe for economic disaster, and it has to change,” said Lee, who represents the Buffalo area, where Obama visited last week to talk about the economy.

The first-term Republican pointed to efforts made by his party to reduce federal spending: pressing Obama to use his authority to force Congress to consider spending cuts, imposing an earmark ban that funnels savings to deficit reduction and strict budget caps to limit annual federal spending.