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Obama calls for bank rules to be put in place

WASHINGTON -- President Obama says the big trading loss at JPMorgan Chase shows the need to finally put in place banking rules he signed into law two years ago. He also is calling on Congress to stop trying to weaken the regulations.

The $2 billion loss has renewed calls by Democratic lawmakers for tougher rules on major financial institutions.

"Without Wall Street reform, we could have found ourselves with the taxpayers once again on the hook for Wall Street's mistakes," Obama said in his weekly media address Saturday.

"We've got to finish the job of implementing this reform and putting these rules in place," he added.

Obama promoted rules that would require big banks or financial institutions to have more cash on hand to cover losses and that would take away big bonuses and paydays from failed CEOs.

The president said financial institutions that "aren't cheating customers or making risky bets that could damage the whole economy" have nothing to fear from the reforms.

Though Congress passed the tougher oversight of the financial sector in 2010, the law gave bank regulators time to write the new rules.

One focus of the financial oversight overhaul is a provision that restricts banks' ability to trade for their own profit, a practice known as proprietary trading. The provision is named for Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman.

But a draft of the rule has failed to satisfy banks, which say it would disrupt some of their core functions, or advocates of stronger regulation who say it would not have prevented JPMorgan's loss.

In the Republicans' weekly address, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson faulted what he called a "do-nothing Senate" under Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada for the frustrations he said he has felt in his 16 months in Congress.

This past week, the Senate rejected by a 99-0 vote a budget that Republicans offered, based on an Obama proposal in February. Four other budget plans also were voted down.

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