This is a gentle veto option, but if Obama actually carries through with it, I'd have to hand it to him.
The White House on Tuesday suggested that President Obama would consider vetoing regulatory reform legislation if it did not include strong enough protections for consumers of credit cards, mortgages and other financial instruments.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that there were "big" concerns inside the administration over reports that Congress was scaling back a key pillar of the president's approach to reform: the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). And, in a warning shot to the legislative branch, he suggested that proposed legislation to create the CFPA might not pass the president's desk if it becomes too watered down in the process.
"The president would not sign any bill that he thought was too weak," said Gibbs. "I think we have seen what happens whether it is credit card companies, mortgage companies, we now see it more in stories covering the charges for bank overdrafts and the amount of money that costs the American people each year. The American people deserve an advocate on their behalf dealing with these entities. The president believes that strongly and believes that at the end of the day we will have a strong Consumer Finance Protection Agency working on behalf of the American people."
This is the proper use of the bully pulpit. The CFPA has already been gutted to an extent. Obama laying a marker can help assure it won't get gutted any further.
Obama veto threats have been rare to this point. The only other I can remember had to do with eliminating the F-22 fighter plane. This is a very good sign, if he's willing to go up against powerful interests, and his own party in the Congress, and siding with the people.
The banks are still running roughshod over Congress. They've beaten back any serious attempt to rein them in, and even now, after taking hundreds of billions if not trillions from the federal government, they are still taking major risks, still not engaging in consumer lending, still playing with derivatives at the same numbers from before the crisis. Clearly the Congress has shown no ability to stop them, and to this point, neither has the President. I hope this signals a true change.