Obama & Lincoln celebrate signing tough financial reform into law

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 21 – With profuse apologies, Senate Ag Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) ducked out of her own 2012 Farm Bill hearing Wednesday morning to attend President Obama's signing of the tough Wall Street Reform bill she championed.

When he signed the controversial Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act which includes Lincoln's transparency rules for previously unregulated derivatives trading, President Obama said that “the worst recession since the Great Depression” was primarily caused by “a breakdown in our financial system.” He charged that “For years, our financial sector was governed by antiquated and poorly enforced rules that allowed some to game the system and take risks that endangered the entire economy.”

Obama said that to pass legislation to prevent continuing financial problems, “we had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups and a partisan minority determined to block change.” He said the result is the new law which “provides certainty to everybody, from bankers to farmers to business owners to consumers. And unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you’ve got nothing to fear from reform.”

Along with reforms to protect consumers using credit cards or taking out mortgages, Obama said that “because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more tax-funded bailouts – period.” Responding to charges the bill represents massive regulatory over-reach which will cost jobs and drive financial activities overseas to less regulated markets, Obama concluded that “We all win when investors around the world have confidence in our markets. We all win when shareholders have more power and more information. We all win when consumers are protected against abuse. And we all win when folks are rewarded based on how well they perform, not how well they evade accountability.”

Sen. Lincoln commented that “Today, we took a major step toward getting our economy back on track and putting people back to work by signing into law tough reforms that will fix this country’s broken financial system.”

Lincoln charged that “The complete lack of accountability and reckless behavior of Wall Street . . . brought our country to the brink of economic collapse.” She said she's proud of her role in helping enact “this historic legislation that provides accountability and transparency to Wall Street and brings real reform to our nation’s financial markets.”

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