WASHINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ US President Barack Obama urged US lawmakers on Saturday to move forward on finance reform designed to stave off future meltdowns, promising to hold Wall Street accountable.
GOP obstructionism could derail Obama’s hopes to sign this next major piece of legislation, according to an AP report.
“Every day we don’t act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place, with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “And if we don’t change what led to the crisis, we’ll doom ourselves to repeat it.
“Opposing reform will leave taxpayers on the hook if a crisis like this ever happens again,” the president said.
“This issue is too important,” said Obama. “The costs of inaction are too great.
“We will hold Wall Street accountable. We will protect and empower consumers in our financial system. That’s what reform is all about.”
A bill under consideration in the US Senate would introduce a slew of Wall Street reforms, creating a potentially powerful consumer financial protection agency, placing checks on executive bonuses and curbing risky investments.
It also establishes a special fund, paid for with contributions from the big banks themselves, to cover the costs of liquidating firms sometimes described as “too big to fail”, rather than propping them up.
The bill has already passed the Senate Banking Committee on a 13 to 10 vote, but no Republican supported it.
Obama argued that the current economic crisis could have been avoided if Wall Street firms had been more accountable, its financial dealings more transparent, and if consumers and shareholders had been given more information and the authority to make decisions.
Obama said he hoped Democrats and Republicans in Congress could put politics aside and find common ground and move forward together.
“But this is certain: one way or another, we will move forward,” he added.