WASHINGTON (AP) — Passage of a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulations in 2010 was a hallmark of President Barack Obama’s first term. Three years later, amid delays and compromises that critics say have diluted its ambitious goals, the president is trying to rekindle the law’s promise.
Obama prodded the nation’s top financial regulators on Monday to act swiftly and finish writing rules designed to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis that helped precipitate a damaging recession from which the country is still recovering.
Obama met privately with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and seven other independent agency heads to emphasize his desire for comprehensive new rules as the five-year anniversary of the nation’s financial near-meltdown approaches.
The law was considered a milestone in Obama’s presidency, a robust response to the crisis, which led to a massive government bailout to stabilize the financial markets. But its implementation is behind schedule with scores of regulations yet to be written, let alone enforced.
Obama hoped to convey “the sense of urgency that he feels,” spokesman Josh Earnest said before the president convened the meeting.
Lehman Brothers collapsed into bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008, and the administration has wanted to use that dubious milestone to look back on the lessons of the crisis and to chart the progress so far to prevent a recurrence. In a statement at the conclusion of the meeting, the White House said Obama commended the regulators for their work “but stressed the need to expeditiously finish implementing the critical remaining portions of Wall Street reform to ensure we are able to prevent the type of financial harm that led to the Great Recession from ever happening again.”
Not everyone feels that way about the law, known as Dodd-Frank after its Democratic sponsors, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd.