Obama renews push for Wall Street reform
US President Barack Obama renewed his push for Wall Street reform Saturday, saying the country needed to tackle the underlying problems that caused the economic crisis.
"The economy is on a better footing. But people are still hurting," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "No matter what the economic statistics say, I won't be satisfied until folks who need work can find good jobs."
The president noted that the main causes of the economic downturn were problems in the US financial sector, and Wall Street firms had taken "enormous, irresponsible risks" that hurt practically every sector of the economy.
Obama is promising the most sweeping regulatory reform drive since the 1930s Great Depression, and is seeking to build momentum for efforts by Democrats in Congress to overcome Republican opposition and pass a new Wall Street reform law.
That effort got a boost on Wednesday, when a Senate panel approved new restrictions on derivatives, the shadowy financial instruments blamed in part for igniting the financial meltdown from which America is just emerging.
The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 13-8 to impose new rules on trading in derivatives, with just one Republican joining Democrats.
Republican leaders have so far united in opposition to the bill to impose tougher regulations on banks and finance firms and to frame a new consumer financial protection agency.