Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama on Thursday praised a Senate vote that cleared the way for Wall Street reform to head to a final vote.
"Over the last year, the financial industry has repeatedly tried to end this reform with hoards of lobbyists and millions of dollars in ads, and when they couldn't kill it they tried to water it down with special interest loopholes ... aimed at undermining real change," Obama told reporters Thursday. "Today, I think it's fair to say that these efforts have failed."
Wall Street reform cleared a crucial test vote on Thursday, all but assuring final Senate passage of the most sweeping regulatory overhaul since
the New Deal. The Senate voted 60 to 40 to meet the threshold to overcome filibusters and send the measure to a final vote within days.
The legislation aims to stop bailouts, shines a light on complex financial products and strengthens consumer protection. Final passage, which is likely to come within days, requires only 51 votes.
Obama said that, while there's still more work ahead, he "will ensure that we will arrive at a final product that is both effective and responsible - one that holds Wall Street to the highest standards of accountability and secures financial stability."
"Our goal is not to punish the banks but to protect the larger economy and the American people from the kinds of upheavals that we've seen in the past few years," Obama added. "And today's action was a major step forward in achieving that goal."