Obama advocates banking changes

Posted: May 20, 2012

WASHINGTON - President Obama on Saturday pointed again to the multibillion-dollar trading loss at JPMorgan Chase as a reason Congress should retain and continue to implement Wall Street changes to prevent the kinds of practices that he says led to the financial meltdown in 2008.

JPMorgan Chase's loss, which bank officials disclosed this month, has renewed calls by Democratic lawmakers for tougher rules on major financial institutions.

"Without Wall Street reform, we could have found ourselves with the taxpayers once again on the hook for Wall Street's mistakes," Obama said in his weekly online and radio address. He added: "We've got to finish the job of implementing this reform and putting these rules in place."

Obama touted rules that would require big banks or financial institutions to have more cash on hand to cover losses and that would take away big bonuses and paydays from failed CEOs.

The president said financial institutions that "aren't cheating customers or making risky bets that could damage the whole economy" have nothing to fear from changes.

"Yes, it discourages big banks and financial institutions from making risky bets with taxpayer-insured money," he said. "And it encourages them to do things that actually help the economy - like extending loans to entrepreneurs with good ideas, to middle-class families who want to buy a home, to students who want to pursue higher education," he said.

In the Republicans' weekly address, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin faulted what he called a "do-nothing Senate" under Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for the frustrations he said he has felt in his 16 months in Congress.

Noting that the Senate hasn't passed a budget in three years, Johnson said House Republicans have fulfilled their responsibilities by passing a budget but that Senate Democrats have not fulfilled theirs.

Earlier in the week, the Senate rejected, 99-0, a budget that Republicans offered up based on an Obama proposal in February. Four other budget plans were also rejected by senators.

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