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Wall Street Reform Becomes Law

President Barack Obama checked off another major victory for Democrats this year by signing financial regulatory reform into law on Wednesday.

Surrounded by Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), the president said the package of reforms aimed at reining in abuse and excess on Wall Street represent “the strongest consumer financial protections in history.”

The recession that has plagued the nation for the past two years stemmed from “a crisis born of a failure of responsibility from certain corners of Wall Street to the halls of power in Washington,” Obama told the crowd, which included Wall Street executives. “Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear from this reform.”

The president acknowledged that the yearlong effort to pass the measure was “no easy task” given that Democratic leaders had to “overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups, and a partisan minority determined to block change.”

Other Members sharing the stage included House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Vice President Joseph Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were also present.

Congressional Republicans remained firm in their opposition to financial regulation. Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed the legislation as “a far-reaching government intrusion” and said anyone who thinks it will actually rein in Wall Street “didn’t read beyond the cover sheet.”

The real effect of the reforms, McConnell said, is that “in the near-term will be job loss.”

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) called for an immediate repeal of the law, echoing the GOP response to health care reform that became law in March.

“We need to repeal this new big government program and replace it with common-sense reform that protects taxpayers from bailouts, helps put Americans back to work, and deals with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Pence said.

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