WASHINGTON, D.C.–President Barack Obama signed into law a reform of financial regulations that aims to protect consumers and ensure economic stability for the country.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) celebrated the enactment of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, praising it as historic legislation that will protect the financial security of Americans.
She was among a select group of Congressional leaders who joined President Obama Wednesday at the ceremony, where he signed the bill into law.
The law, pushed through mainly by Democrats in Washington’s deeply partisan environment, comes almost two years after the notorious 2008 financial collapse under the presidential administration of George W. Bush that was felt not only in the United States but around the world.
The financial overhaul calls for more consumer protections and additional restrictions in banks. President Obama calls the legislation the toughest financial reforms since laws put into place in the aftermath of the Great Depression.
Opponents of the bill call it over-regulation, but the president says the new market rules will prevent another financial disaster.
The law will place shadow financial markets, that previously escaped the oversight of regulators, under new scrutiny. In addition, it will give the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy.
Congresswoman Waters said, “This historic legislation has been designed to prevent another financial crisis, to reform how Wall Street and the nation’s major financial institutions operate, and to protect American consumers from predatory loans, excessive bank charges and credit card fees. Families and small businesses on Main Street in cities and towns across the country will benefit from our efforts to hold Wall Street accountable.”
The president went as far as to say the reforms are “the strongest consumer protections in history.” Obama also added, “Because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.”
The congresswoman agreed. “Economic recovery requires solving the housing crisis and helping homeowners who have underwater mortgages and are at risk of foreclosure. Hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own should not have to lose their homes as well,” Waters said. “I am proud that this legislation includes my provisions to protect homeowners from fraud and foreclosure so they can stay in their homes and to stabilize neighborhoods.”
Despite Republican detractors, the president argued that the crippling recession the nation is struggling to overcome was primarily caused by a breakdown in the financial system that cannot happen again. “I proposed a set of reforms to empower consumers and investors, to bring the shadowy deals that brought this crisis into the light of day, and to put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” President Obama said to supporters. “Today, thanks to a lot of people in this room, those reforms will become the law of the land.”
In a twist of irony, the president signed the bill with great fanfare in the Ronald Reagan Building, named after a president who was an advocatefor deregulation.