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Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner today proposed a sweeping expansion of federal authority over the financial system, breaking from an era in which the government stood back from financial markets and allowed participants to decide how much risk to take in the pursuit of profit.
The Obama administration's plan would extend federal regulation for the first time to all firms trading in financial derivatives and to companies including large hedge funds and major insurers such as American International Group. The administration also will seek to impose uniform standards on all large financial firms, including banks, an unprecedented step that would place significant limits on the scope and risk of their activities.
"Our system failed in basic fundamental ways," Geithner told the committee.