Obama pushes bank reform, lashes out at Republicans

* Obama says seeks common ground with Republicans

* Repeats that bill will end taxpayer bailouts

By Ross Colvin

WASHINGTON, April 17 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. President Barack
Obama on Saturday accused opposition Republicans of spreading
misinformation about a Democratic bill that aims to tighten
oversight of Wall Street banks and their practices.

After successfully shepherding his healthcare overhaul
through Congress, Obama is now pushing hard for a legislative
victory on financial regulatory reform, a popular issue with
voters ahead of congressional elections in November.

The Senate is expected to vote within weeks on the reform
bill, which Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address
would “hold Wall Street accountable” and put in place rules to
ensure U.S. taxpayers would never again be called upon to bail
out companies in financial trouble.

“Never again will taxpayers be on the hook because a
financial company is deemed ‘too big to fail’,” Obama said.

Under the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program
launched under the Bush administration, $700 billion was set
aside to help banks and automakers.

But Republicans insist the Democratic bill will lead to
more taxpayer-funded bailouts and say it establishes new
regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and
community banks.

Obama said he still hoped to win Republican support for the
bill, but he lashed out at Republican Senate leader Mitch
McConnell, accusing him of making a “cynical and deceptive
assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts —
when he knows that it would do just the opposite.”

Obama similarly accused Republicans of spreading
misinformation during his tumultuous year-long effort to sell
his healthcare reform plan to skeptical Americans.

HOLDING WALL ST ACCOUNTABLE

All 41 Republicans in the 100-seat Senate expressed their
opposition to the financial reform bill in a letter on Friday
but said they were still willing to work with Democrats on the
issue.

Opinion polls show bankers are deeply unpopular with U.S.
voters after the financial crisis tipped the economy into deep
recession, leaving hundreds of thousands without jobs.

“What is clear is that this crisis could have been avoided
if Wall Street firms were more accountable, if financial
dealings were more transparent, and if consumers and
shareholders were given more information and authority to make
decisions,” Obama said in his radio address.

Obama said the proposed reforms would ensure greater
transparency of financial dealings, give consumers more
financial protection and close loopholes that had allowed some
firms to take huge risks that threatened the whole economy.

The Obama administration has taken a more aggressive stance
on Wall Street since the Democrats lost a Senate seat in
Massachusetts in January. The election highlighted voter
resentment against big banks and big bonuses.

Stock Market Money
(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Obama pushes bank reform, lashes out at Republicans