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Obama in financial overhaul victory

US Congress has passed a sweeping overhaul of America's financial regulations, securing for President Barack Obama his third major legislative victory.

The Bill has been Mr Obama's top domestic priority after the passage of healthcare legislation and his early victory in setting up a nearly $800 billion fund to pump life into an economy hit with the deepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The 2,300-page Bill aims to address regulatory weaknesses blamed for the 2008 financial crisis. It gives regulators broad authority to rein in banks, limit risk-taking by financial firms and supervise previously unregulated trading.

It also makes it easier to liquidate large, financially interconnected institutions, and it creates a new consumer protection bureau to guard against lending abuses.

"I'm about to sign Wall Street reform into law, to protect consumers and lay the foundation for a stronger and safer financial system, one that is innovative, creative, competitive and far less prone to panic and collapse," the president said at the White House.

"Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear."

The measure also includes new protections for millions of American consumers.

Only three opposition Republicans in the Senate backed the overhaul, a reflection of the party's solidarity in bucking Mr Obama's legislative agenda. The measure has already passed in the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a larger margin of votes.

The Bill's many provisions do not offer a quick remedy, rather they are a prescription for regulators to act. In many cases, the real impact of the legislation won't be felt for at least two years.

"We have no idea whether this Bill is historical or not,"Republican Bob Corker said. "We won't know for a long time, until the regulators decide what they're going to do with this Bill."

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