WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is warning voters that Republicans seeking control of Congress would roll back his hard-won Wall Street overhaul bill.
He says the GOP's promised repeal of the new law would be a major setback for consumers and would bring back a financial system whose near-collapse led to the worst recession since the Great Depression.
"Without sound oversight and commonsense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. "That doesn't serve Main Street. That doesn't serve Wall Street. That doesn't serve anyone."
The law, passed despite nearly unanimous Republican opposition, attempts to catch up to a financial system that has sped ahead of outdated regulation and rules that allowed banks, traders and others to take increased risks.
"This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system," Obama said. "And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history — to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages and other abusive practices."
The measure promises limits on bank overdraft fees and an end to abuses such as retroactive interest rate increases on credit card balances. It came in the wake of a $700 billion bank rescue passed in the final months of George W. Bush's presidency. While the bailout is credited with providing stability, it's deeply unpopular with voters angry of taxpayer money being used to help prop up huge banks.
Obama promised that the measure ensures that taxpayers will "never again be on the hook for a bailout."
Obama's address came just 10 days before midterm elections in which Republicans have a good chance of taking over the House, if not the Senate. The financial regulation measure hasn't been a central campaign issue.
House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio has called for the repeal of the measure, as have top Senate Republicans. But that's unlikely even if the GOP should take control of Congress since Obama would still wield a veto pen.
In the GOP's weekly message, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota denounced Obama's economic stimulus bill, overhaul of the U.S. health care system and plans to allow Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier people to expire.
"We have learned the lessons not only of what hasn't worked over the past two years, but what didn't work the last time Republicans controlled Congress," Thune said. "We are determined to take this country in the right direction."
Added Thune: "Are you better off today than you were two years ago?"
Obama address: http://www.whitehouse.gov
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