Obama Finds a Sliver of Bipartisanship as Senate Moves on Wall Street Bill

Posted May 20, 2010 at 4:39pm

President Barack Obama on Thursday praised Senators — including a few Republicans — for moving within striking distance of passing sweeping financial regulatory reform.

“Today Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the Senate have voted to break the filibuster and allow a final debate and vote on financial reform, reform that will protect consumers, protect our economy and hold Wall Street accountable,” Obama told reporters at a Rose Garden press conference. The Senate is expected to pass the bill tonight.

Obama called the measure “one of my top priorities as president,” and highlighted some of the substance in the bill, noting the measure would ban taxpayer-funded bailouts, stem predatory lending and put in place a new order of consumer protections.

“Because of financial reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts, period,” Obama said in response to GOP claims early in the debate that the legislation would put taxpayers on the hook in future economic meltdowns.

Obama noted “we’ve still got some work to do.” He acknowledged the differences between the House and Senate versions of financial reform, and predicted a lobbying blitz when the proposals are smoothed out in conference.

“I will ensure that we arrive at a final product that is both effective and responsible, one that holds Wall Street to high standards of accountability and secures financial stability, while preserving the strength and crucial functions of a financial industry that is central to our prosperity and our ability to innovate and compete in a global economy,” he said.