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Weekly remarks: Obama on more financial regs; GOP's Paul Ryan knocks lack of Democratic budget

June 26, 2010 |  3:00 am

Democrat President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with his feet on the historic desk

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House

This weekend, I’m traveling to Toronto to meet with members of the G20. There, I hope we can build on the progress we made at last year’s G20 summits by coordinating our global financial reform efforts to make sure a crisis like the one from which we are still recovering never happens again. We’ve made great progress toward passing such reform here at home. As I speak, we are on the cusp of enacting the toughest financial reforms since the Great Depression.

I don’t have to tell you why these reforms are so important. We’re still digging ourselves out of an economic crisis that happened largely because there wasn’t strong enough oversight on Wall Street. We can’t build a strong economy in America over the long run without ending this status quo and laying a new foundation for growth and prosperity.

That’s what the Wall Street reforms currently making their way through Congress will help us do – reforms that represent 90% of what I proposed when I took up this fight. We’ll put in

... place the strongest consumer financial protections in American history, and create an independent agency with an independent director and an independent budget to enforce them.

Credit card companies will no longer be able to mislead you with pages and pages of fine print. You will no longer be subject to all kinds of hidden fees and penalties, or the predatory practices of unscrupulous lenders.

Instead, we’ll make sure credit card companies and mortgage companies play by the rules.  And you’ll be empowered with easy-to-understand forms, and the clear and concise information you need to make the financial decisions that are best for you and your family.

Wall Street reform will also strengthen our economy in a number of other ways. We’ll make our financial system more transparent by bringing the kinds of complex trades that helped trigger this crisis – trades in a $600-trillion derivatives market – finally into the light of day.

We’ll enact what’s called the Volcker Rule to make sure banks protected by a safety net like the FDIC can’t engage in risky trades for their own profit. We’ll create what’s called a resolution authority to help wind down firms whose collapse would threaten our entire financial system. Put simply, we’ll end the days of taxpayer-funded bailouts, and help make sure Main Street is never again held responsible for Wall Street’s mistakes.

Beyond these reforms, we also need to address another piece of unfinished business. We need to impose a fee on the banks that were the biggest beneficiaries of taxpayer assistance at the height of our financial crisis – so we can recover every dime of taxpayer money.

Getting this far on Wall Street reform hasn’t been easy. There are those who’ve fought tooth and nail to preserve the status quo. In recent months, they’ve spent millions of dollars and hired an army of lobbyists to stop reform dead in its tracks.

But because we refused to back down, and kept fighting, we now stand on the verge of victory. And I urge Congress to take us over the finish line, and send me a reform bill I can sign into law, so we can empower our people with consumer protections, and help prevent a financial crisis like this from ever happening again.   ####

Capitol Hill at Night

Republican remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan, as provided by Republican congressional leadership

Hello – I’m Paul Ryan – I work for the people of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District and I serve as the top Republican on the House Budget Committee. Yes, Congress does have a Budget Committee, but I’m afraid it hasn’t been very busy this year.

In fact, this week the House Majority Leader announced that Democrats are canceling this year’s budget.  Instead of reining in out-of-control spending that has pushed our national debt past $13 trillion, Democrats have made clear their intention to raise taxes on middle-class families to fuel their continued spending spree.

Talk about a recipe for disaster: Democrats are offering no budget, no priorities, and no restraints – yet all their taxing, borrowing, and spending continues unchecked.   

With this budget failure – a first in the modern era – Democrats are missing a critical opportunity to provide the fiscal discipline economists say is needed to create private-sector jobs and boost our economy.  This unprecedented budget collapse also sends a clear signal to American families struggling to meet their own budgets that Washington still doesn’t recognize the severity of its spending problem.

Democrats say their decision is about what’s best for the future of our country. It’s not. With the political season upon us, Democratic leaders believe it’s better to take a pass than to pass a budget. While Americans ask ‘where are the jobs?,’ they seem content to simply run out the clock and leRepublican 

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsint their borrowing binge continue to drain resources from our economy.
 
The debt is on track to exceed the size of our entire economy in the next 18 months. We have run out of road to kick the can down. 

If this is really about the future of our country, then leaders should make the tough choices they promised they would, put moral obligation before political expedience, and focus on what’s in the best interests of the next generation, not the next election.

This is a time to make tough choices, not run from them.  To that end, Republicans on the Budget Committee have already identified $1.3 trillion in specific spending cuts we would implement right now to make Washington do more with less and help small businesses put people back to work.

These are specific, common-sense ideas, such as canceling unspent TARP bailout funds and "stimulus" money, that would help us focus on creating more jobs, not more debt. 

We also propose reducing federal employment and freezing government pay.  Instead of growing government, we need to restart the engine of economic growth.Of course, this is just a starting point. Much more needs to be done to set our nation on a sustainable economic course.  We need to start reining in unnecessary spending now so that we can boost the economy and work together to address our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges.

It is our shared responsibility to take on the challenges before us to make sure that our kids and our grandkids have a better life. Let’s begin this important work today.  Let’s make certain we do not simply retreat to the same failed policies.  Let’s make the tough, forward-looking choices that will restore the promise and prosperity of this exceptional nation, and let’s do it together. Thanks for listening.    ####

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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Associated Press; Ryan's office.

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