Wall Street reform set into motion Wednesday at signing ceremony

rolled up dollar bill


A Wall Street Reform bill was signed into law by President Obama Wednesday. The financial reform bill is described as the most sweeping financial industry reform legislation since the Great Depression. At the signing ceremony for the financial reform bill after months of debate, Obama called Wall Street reform “the strongest consumer financial protections in history.” Republicans called the bill a permanent Wall Street bailout that would hurt small community banks and send jobs overseas.

Financial reform bill finally becomes law

Two years after runaway Wall Street greed nearly collapsed the U.S. economy, the president signed the bill after months of debate. Politico reports that Democrats hoped to produce a strong bipartisan financial reform bill, but in the end it barely passed in the Senate with a handful of Republican votes. Most Republicans argued the bill failed to address the root cause of the 2008 financial crisis: the lending policies at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans also said the bill would force financial firms to move jobs overseas to avoid stricter oversight.

Signing ceremony guest list

At the signing ceremony for the financial reform bill, Obama was flanked by the senators who authored the bill: Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, as well as others from Congress who contributed to the reform efforts. But the Washington Post reports that the people who werent’ there speak volumes about the bill. Among those who did not receive a signing ceremony invitation were Wall Street titans James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, John Stumpf of Wells Fargo and Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase.

Wall Street reform – with a catch

During the ceremony, Obama challenged criticism from Republicans and Wall Street. He described Wall Street reform as a triumph for consumers and a necessity for business, saying the financial system “only works – our markets are only free – when there are clear rules and basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system.” The president also said that the meat of the financial reform bill will be left to regulators and that Wall Street greed will still have wiggle room to maneuver. Plus, several parts of the legislation won’t take effect for a year or more as regulators implement new rules.

Republicans call financial reform a Wall Street bailout

The financial reform bill overcame strenuous opposition from Republicans, who charged that by targeting Wall Street greed, it did not address the root problems that caused the meltdown. CBS News reports that in a statement following the signing, House Republican leader John Boehner (who did not receive a signing ceremony invitation) said the bill “provides permanent bailouts for his Wall Street allies at the expense of community banks and small businesses around the country, while doing nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government mortgage companies that triggered the financial meltdown by giving too many high-risk loans to people who couldn’t afford them.”

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