Barack Obama's crackdown bill on Wall Street wins Senate backing

Barack Obama has received a much-needed boost after the US Senate backed the biggest reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression.

The bill allows Obama to claim another major piece of legislation to put alongside the economic stimulus bill passed last year, which stands comparison with Roosevelt's New Deal, and the healthcare bill earlier this year, which achieved a goal that had eluded previous presidents.

It helps him counter accusations that his presidency is in danger of becoming an empty one, comparable to that of Jimmy Carter, who had little to show for his four years in office.

The bill, which could be on Obama's desk for signing on Friday or early next week, is intended to deal with many of the issues that led to recession in the US: dodgy mortgages, easy credit cards, and limited regulation of banking and Wall Street.

It posed a dilemma for the Republicans, caught between their traditional close ties with the financial industry and public anger against Wall Street, but in the end most voted against it. Lobbying groups on behalf of the financial industry mounted one of the most expensive campaigns in US election history against the bill.

Although some Democrats complain the bill does not go nearly far enough in regulating Wall Street, the Obama administration hopes it will help address some of the widespread public anger at bankers and financiers.

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