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Obama secures 60 votes needed for financial overhaul

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has secured the 60 votes he needs in the Senate to pass a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations, all but ensuring that he soon will sign into law one of the top initiatives of his presidency.

With the votes in hand to overcome Republican delaying tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he hoped for final passage Thursday. The House already has passed the bill.

"This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses, it's good for the entire economy," Obama said as he prodded the Senate to act quickly.

The final vote comes amid lingering public resentment of Wall Street, but the legislation's symbolic and political impact is likely to be diminished by anxiety across the country over jobs and the economy.

Reid as much as acknowledged that political reality yesterday, blaming "greed on Wall Street" for the country's economic troubles.

"It triggered the recession," he said.

Support for the bill jelled Tuesday after conservative Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced he would vote for the bill after raising concerns the previous day.

Obama noted that the bill is getting backing from Republican Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine. Snowe and Brown announced their support on Monday.

"Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision," Obama said.

The 2,300-page bill aims to address regulatory weaknesses blamed for the 2008 financial crisis that fueled the worst recession since the 1930s.

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.

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