Friday, April 23, 2010

Obama Criticizes Wall Street in Push for Reform

From the New York Times:

President Obama took his rhetoric of reform on Thursday to the nation’s financial capital in a high-profile foray to chide Wall Street bankers for their “reckless practices” and to press for tighter regulations meant to avert another financial crisis.

Addressing leaders of New York’s financial giants, including Goldman Sachs, Mr. Obama described himself as a champion of change battling “battalions of financial industry lobbyists” and the “withering forces” of the economic elite. With his poll numbers sagging, the choreographed confrontation seemed aimed at tapping the nation’s antiestablishment mood as well as muscling financial regulation legislation through Congress.

But the president also struck a note of conciliation with an industry that has contributed generously to his party, beseeching bankers to work with him to forge a new regulatory structure. While he spoke, his Democratic allies in Washington moved to force a showdown in the Senate on Monday, scheduling a procedural vote that will test the prospects for bipartisan compromise and Republican resolve to block the president’s plans.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to begin debate on the bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote on Monday at 5:15 p.m. on whether to take up the measure. In the meantime, the two sides are negotiating to see whether it is possible to come up with a bipartisan agreement.

Here is video of the President's speech; a transcript can be found here.

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