Obama Urges Wall Street to Join Reform Effort

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President Barack Obama was in New York City on Thursday to argue for greater government control of Wall Street.

In a high-stakes speech at Cooper Union College, the president warned a lack of change by America's financial capital will doom the country to repeat the mistakes of the past.

He urged Congress to move quickly to finish a regulatory bill and he asked Wall Street to join -- not fight -- the effort.

CBN News spoke with financial expert Phil Kepen of Americans for Prosperity about the president's plan for reform.  Click play for his comments following an updated report.

"Ultimately there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We rise or we fall together as one nation. So I urge you to join me," Obama said during the 25-minute address at the college's Great Hall.

Obama to Wall Street: 'I Told You So'

It's not the first time Obama has decried Wall Street's risky financial practices.

As a candidate, he chastised the nation's economic masterminds for rewarding financial manipulation instead of productivity and sound business practices.

"I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments have largely been borne out by the events that followed," the president said.

"But I repeat what I said then because it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don't doom ourselves to repeat it," he added. "And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass - an outcome that is unacceptable to me and to the American people."

The president's massive bill is intended to create a mechanism for liquidating large financial firms considered too big to fail and bring new regulations to the largely unsupervised derivatives market.

Signs of Bipartisanship

Congress has not attempted a major overhaul of the U.S. financial system since the 1930s.

There are signs that, for once, both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill may come together on a major piece of legislation: a bill by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., which includes a $50 billion bailout fund to pay off lenders to troubled firms.

"We're making more progress and we're more optimistic than I've ever been," Shelby said.

"I think this bill is potentially the beginning of us being able to function in an appropriate way in this body," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., added.

But some are taking little comfort that the same Congress that rammed through health care on a strictly partisan vote is now taking aim at the financial sector with support on both sides of the aisle.

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