"America's economic future depends on a thriving financial sector to provide the capital families require to meet their needs and businesses must have to grow and hire," Obama said in a statement when the House of Representatives passed the bill June 30. "But, as we have seen, it also must operate within a sensible framework of rules and regulations, adequate to hold financial institutions accountable."
"This is a strong bill," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said at the time. "It will provide essential protections for consumers and investors and help make sure the financial system meets the credit needs of Main Street America. With action by the Senate, we will be able to turn our attention to putting these protections in place."
But some critics claim that the Wall Street overhaul does not go nearly far enough.
Simon Johnson, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, blasted Geithner and the administration for "taking their victory laps and congratulating themselves on retaining 'business as usual' after the biggest crash-and-bailout in world financial history."
On his Baseline Scenario blog, Johnson called the end of congressional negotiations on the bill a "meaningless conclusion," arguing that "essentially nothing in the entire legislation will reduce the potential for massive system risk as we head into the next credit cycle."
"This administration and this congress had ample opportunity to confront this problem and at least wrestle hard with it," Johnson said. "Some senators and representatives worked long and hard on precisely this issue. But the White House punted, repeatedly, and elected instead for a veneer of superficial tweaking. Welcome to the next global credit cycle ... with too big to fail banks at center stage."
Whether the Wall Street bill will ultimately keep the financial system in check and prevent it from causing future recessions remains to be seen but, for now, Democrats tout the measure as a signature achievement of the current Congress.