New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama called on the financial industry Thursday to support his efforts to enact new regulatory reforms or risk repeating the "failure of responsibility" that nearly brought down the nation's economy.
"I believe in the power of the free market," Obama said in a speech at Cooper Union, not far from the New York Stock Exchange. "But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it."
The highly anticipated speech cames as Obama and Democrats in Congress are pushing to get a reform package approved this year, with talk that there may be support from at least some Republicans. The House passed a regulatory reform bill in December, and the Senate version is currently being debated.
The reforms the administration has proposed represent a "significant improvement on the flawed rules we have in place today," Obama said. But that push get those reforms enacted has had to contend with "the furious efforts of industry lobbyists to shape them to their special interests."