Obama Savors Chance at Another Legislative Win with Wall St. Reform

It's the sweet prospect of another legislative victory that President Obama was savoring in a bright & sunny Rose Garden this afternoon.

With the help of a three Republicans, the Senate's Democratic majority successfully invoked cloture with a 60-40 vote and can now bring the Wall Street reform bill Mr. Obama wants up for a final debate and vote.

The measure was his next top legislative priority after signing his health care bill into law on March 23, and he views today's development as an important political win.

"Over the last year, the financial industry has repeatedly tried to end this reform with hordes of lobbyists and millions of dollar in ads," said Mr. Obama. "Today, I think it's fair to say that these efforts have failed."

But it's still way too soon to schedule a bill signing ceremony. The Senate measure will have to be reconciled with the version passed last year by the House.

"And there's no doubt that during that time, the financial industry and their lobbyists will keep on fighting," said Mr. Obama, bracing for the next phase in the battle.

The president blames the recession, in large part, on a "lack of responsibility and accountability" from Wall Street to Washington. He believes the provisions of this massive overhaul bill will put safeguards in place to prevent a recurrence.

"Our goal is not to punish the banks, but to protect the larger economy and the American people from the kind of upheavals that we've seen in the past few years," he said today in his eight-minute statement in the Rose Garden.

And today - Mr. Obama declared flat out that if the bill he wants is enacted, never again will taxpayers be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes.

"There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts - period."

Mr. Obama said he knows how unpopular those bailouts have been, even though he credits them with saving the economy from a plunge into another Great Depression.

"If a large financial institution should ever fail, we will have the tools to wind it down without endangering the broader economy," said Mr. Obama today.

And he said there'll be new rules to prevent financial institutions from becoming "too big to fail" in the first place, so as to avoid another AIG, the insurance company that received over $180-billion in federal bailout funds.

He asserts that Wall Street reform will bring "greater security to folks on Main Street" - to families who are looking to buy their first car or their first home.

It's rare that a Senate cloture vote is enough to bring the president into the Rose Garden to trumpet the development, especially since the bill is still far from ready for his signature.

But compared to dealing with a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico now in its 31st day, the cloture vote didn't kill any fish, soil any shoreline, or turn some of the waters of the Gulf muddy-brown.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/markknoller.
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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.