WASHINGTON (CNN) – Making sure the nation's lending industry is strong is crucial to jumpstarting its economy, President Barack Obama said Tuesday, even as he acknowledged anger over the government banking bailout Congress approved last year.
"I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you - I get it," Obama said in his first address to a joint session of Congress. "But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment.
He said he plans a new lending fund to provide college, auto and small-business loans and a housing plan that will help struggling families refinance and pay smaller mortgages. He said he wants to continue propping up the nation's largest banks when they're in danger, but will hold them accountable for how the money is spent.
"This time, CEOs won't be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet," Obama said.
"Those days are over."