Obama says financial regulatory reform is going to be one of his top priorities. As a matter of fact, Thursday he suggested that he wants to overhaul the system, and he even suggested that it's about time there were some adults in charge. With that, he named three top federal regulators.
Obama said Mary Schapiro would chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler would head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Daniel Tarullo would fill an empty Federal Reserve seat. All three will need to be confirmed by the Senate next year.
Schapiro is a former commissioner of the SEC. Currently she is CEO Of the financial industry regulatory authority. That is the largest nongovernmental regulator of securities firms doing business in the US. If confirmed, Schapiro will be taking over an agency under fire for its failure to regulate Wall Street and protect investors.
President-elect Obama says Schapiro has a history of being on the side of investors. Obama says Schapiro has often been criticized by industry insiders. Schapiro spoke briefly Thursday morning.
"Investor trust is the lifeblood of our financial markets. The only way to restore the trust that has been lost is through effective, thoughtful reform of our regulatory structure and the consistent and robust enforcement of our financial regulations. And this will be my top priority," Schapiro said.
In another subject, President-elect Obama has chosen evangelical Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. That pick is under controversy, widely being cite sized by gay groups because Warren is against gay marriage. He is also pro-life. Thursday morning, Obama defended that choice.
"Rick Warren has been invited to speak. Dr. Joseph Lowery who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren on a whole host of issues is also speaking. During the course of the entire inaugural festivities there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America is about," Obama said.
It has also been reported that Obama has selected Peoria Congressman Ray LaHood, who is a Republican, as transportation secretary. That has not yet been confirmed by Obama. He was not asked that question Thursday so he did not talk about it.