Thursday, April 22, 2010

FP morning post 4/22

Obama takes regulation fight to Wall Street

Top news: President Barack Obama is in New York today for a speech in which he will lay out his agenda for the reform of the U.S. financial regulatory system, expected to be his major legislative priority after the passage of healthcare reform.
Obama will speak at Manhattan's Cooper Union college, echoing a speech he gave there as a candidate in March, 2008, in which he decried Wall Street's culture of financial manipulation and concentration of power.

"[I]t is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don't doom ourselves to repeat it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass," he says in his prepared remarks for today.

The proposed new reforms will likely include more consumer protections, limits on executive compensation, and limits on the size of banks and the risks they can take on. On Wednesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee sent a bill by its chairwoman, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, to the Senate floor, which would regulate the trading of derivatives. Derivatives reform is also expected to be part of the final overall reform package.

Republicans are largely opposed to these measures, accusing the White House of trying to strangle the free market. Obama addresses these concerns in his speech today, saying, "A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it."

British election: Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg continues to surge in the polls as Britain prepares for its second televised debate today.

Middle East
  • A rocket exploded near the Jordanian port of Aqaba. The source of the attack is unknown.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has officially rejected President Obama's demand that he suspend construction of new housing in East Jerusalem.
  • Iran kicked off a massive military drill in the Persian Gulf.
  • NATO has apologized for the killing of four civilians in Afghanistan's Khost province.
  • Thailand's military is warning of "decisive action" against the red-shirt protesters occupying Bangkok.
  • The rescue effort in China's earthquake-hit Qinghai province is being hampered by snow.
-By Joshua Keating
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