Relating the bill to the concerns of the working people he met with this week in his trip to Buffalo this week in his White House to Main Street tour, Obama argued that the bill under debate "represents the strongest consumer financial protections in history."
"The reform bill being debated in the Senate will not solve every problem in our financial system – no bill could," Obama said. "But what this strong bill will do is important, and I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible, so we can secure America’s economic future in the 21st century."
The president cast critics of the legislation as "opponents of reform" who are "misleading" Americans on what it would do.
"All of this has helped obscure what reform would actually mean for you, the American people," he said, arguing that all Americans have a stake in the legislation, particularly if “you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a credit card company, misled by pages and pages of fine print, or ended up paying fees and penalties you’d never heard of before,” or “if you’ve ever tried to take out a home loan, a car loan, or a student loan, and been targeted by the predatory practices of unscrupulous lenders.”
Reform, he said, would "level the playing field."
"You’ll be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make the choices that are best for you," he said. "Put simply, Wall Street reform will bring greater security to folks on Main Street."
In the Republican response, Rep Chris Lee (N.Y.), also referenced President Obama’s trip to Buffalo, saying that “it was my hope that he would listen – really listen – to what the people are saying” – “that Washington does more talking than listening… more spending than saving, often in the name of creating jobs that never seem to come.”
“[U]nless we change course,” he said, “our debt will reach levels now being experienced by Greece, whose debt is projected to reach 125 percent of its economy this year. Greece is already in the process of receiving an international bailout.”