America’s biggest financial reforms since the Great Depression are still on track, with victory for President Obama in the House of Representatives.
The bill promises tough new controls on banks and risk-taking, but the Republicans say business will suffer. House Republican leader John Boehner said: “All of us recognise there are shortcomings in our financial regulatory system, but I do believe that the over-reach by my Democrat collegues on this bill is really beyond imagination.” The Democrats though believe the wind is with them and are pushing hard for long-lasting change. They say the Republicans are out of step. Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank said: “The American people, we’re told, have said ‘no more expansion of government’. Not in the area, certainly, of financial regulation. Their view that the American people want no more restraints on Wall Street is wrong.” President Obama’s opponents and an army of lobbyists for Wall Street, whose profits may be threatened, have fought long and hard to weaken and delay financial reform. Despite the House vote, the battle will continue in 2010 in the Senate, which is expected to permit only modest regulation. But, in the midst of such a crushing recession and voter anger at bank bailouts, the Democrats are optimistic of overall victory.