Obama signs sweeping Wall Street overhaul into law

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – President Barack Obama  signed into law yesterday the most comprehensive financial  regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression, vowing to stop  risky behavior on Wall Street that imperiled the U.S. economy.

Influential business groups lined up to criticize the new  law, underscoring Obama’s uneasy relationship with America’s  business community.

Some on Wall Street, however, welcomed the  clarity offered by the law after months of wrangling in  Congress over what should be in the legislation.

The law, which got final approval from the Senate last  week, targets the kind of Wall Street risk-taking that helped  trigger a global financial meltdown in 2007-2009 and also aims  to strengthen consumer protections.

Obama, facing voter unrest over Wall Street bailouts that  have failed to spark a strong Main Street job recovery, pledged  taxpayers would never again have to pump billions of dollars  into failing firms to protect the economy.

“Because of this law, the American people will never again  be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” Obama  said at a signing ceremony attended by some Wall Street  bankers, business leaders and lawmakers.

“There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period.”

With Republicans poised to make gains in the November  congressional elections, Obama’s Democrats are eager to show  voters that they have taken steps to tame an industry that  dragged the economy into its deepest recession in 70 years.

Obama and Democrats have yet to gain political traction  from the legislative victory, with Americans still anxious  about a 9.5 percent jobless rate and ballooning deficits.

The financial regulatory reforms were a major achievement  for Obama and his ambitious domestic agenda. Earlier this year  he signed into law sweeping reforms of the United States’ $2.5  trillion healthcare system.

The financial reforms won Democrats few friends on Wall  Street. Wealthy donors have started to steer more campaign  contributions to Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against  the reforms.

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