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23 March 2010
President Obama signed his landmark health care overhaul — the most expansive social legislation enacted in decades — into law on Tuesday, saying it enshrines “the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.”
Mr. Obama signed the measure, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, during a festive and at times raucous ceremony in the East Room of the White House. He spoke to an audience of nearly 300, including more than 200 Democratic lawmakers who rode a yearlong legislative roller coaster that ended with House passage of the bill Sunday night. They interrupted him repeatedly with cheers, applause and standing ovations.
"The bill I'm signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see," Mr. Obama said, adding, "Today we are affirming that essential truth, a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself, that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations."
Moments later, the president sat down at a table and affixed his left-handed, curlicue signature, almost letter by letter, to the measure, using 20 pens that he intended to pass out as mementos to lawmakers, aides and a handful of others, including Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who had made passing the legislation his life's work.
Read more at the New York Times.
20 May 2010
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved a far-reaching financial regulatory bill, putting Congress on the brink of approving a broad expansion of government oversight of the increasingly complex banking system and financial markets.
The legislation is intended to prevent a repeat of the 2008 crisis, but also reshapes the role of numerous federal agencies and vastly empowers the Federal Reserve in an attempt to predict and contain future debacles.
The vote was 59 to 39, with four Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favor of the bill. Two Democrats opposed the measure, saying it was still not tough enough.
Democratic Congressional leaders and the Obama administration must now work to combine the Senate measure with a version approved by the House in December, a process that is expected to take several weeks.
More at the New York Times.