U.S. President Barack Obama is praising his country's lawmakers for passing sweeping legislation to overhaul financial regulation that he says will "lay the foundation for a stronger and safer financial system."


U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters Thursday outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. ((Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press))

Senators passed the Restoring American Financial Stability Act on Thursday afternoon by a vote of 60-39.

Hours later, in a news conference outside the White House, Obama hailed the reform bill as one that would prevent a financial crisis like that of 2008 from happening again.

"Overall, this puts in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history and creates a new consumer watchdog to enforce those protections," Obama said. "Because of this reform, American taxpayers will never again be asked to foot the bill for [Wall Street's] mistakes.

"There will be no more taxpayer bailouts. Period."

Obama praised Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate for their perseverance in promoting the historic bill.

"I am extraordinarily grateful for their determination in the face of a massive lobbying effort from the financial industry," he said.

Obama is expected to sign the bill into law at a ceremony late next week.

Republican resistance

Obama also thanked the three Republicans who supported the bill, saying they "put politics and partisanship aside today."

Remaining Republicans had done their best to keep the bill from moving forward. Senate Republicans in April had blocked debate on the bill, forcing it back to the House of Representatives for amendment.

Earlier Thursday, senators voted 60-38 to end debate on the bill, paving the way for the final Senate vote.

Many Republicans agree with a need for new bank regulations but oppose the bill as it exists.

Among numerous stipulations, the bill would provide shareholders with a say on pay and corporate affairs with a non-binding vote on executive compensation and director nominations.

And hedge funds with values in excess of $100 million US would be required to register and disclose financial data. Currently there are no such stipulations on the shadowy institutions.