U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week unveiled a plan to give the Federal Reserve more authority over Wall Street, crack down on mortgage brokers, consolidate oversight of banks and thrifts, and set up a federal insurance regulator.
The plan comes amid a crisis in the housing market with the U.S. economy teetering on the brink of recession.
Here is what the candidates vying to succeed President Bush have said about financial regulation:
Democrat Barack Obama
The Illinois senator proposed greater government regulation of the U.S. financial system in a speech on Wall Street last week. He said U.S. officials were right in 1999 to revamp Depression-era laws that separated commercial and investment bankifg but they went too far in easing regulations.
Obama said that if the Federal Reserve is going to make credit available to investment banks, those institutions should be subject to the same liquidity and capital requirements faced by commercial banks.
Of the Paulson plan, Obama said some of it would mark an improvement but some parts would water down regulations.
"Some of it adapts to a new global financial circumstance but it doesn't address the underlying problems that we're facing on Wall Street right now. It doesn't address the fact that we've had an absence of oversight," he said.
Democrat Hillary Clinton
Like Obama, Clinton would subject all institutions that are eligible to access the Federal Reserve's credit to regulations equivalent to commercial banks.
The New York senator called for new standards governing mortgage lenders and reform of rating agencies to avoid conflicts of interest. She would create a federal minimum standard for companies and people who start the process of organizing a loan, known as mortgage originators.
She said of the Paulson plan: "There is still a very serious gap between what the administration is proposing and the immediate crisis that we face."
"Although I appreciate and agree with some of the recommendations, the blueprint is simply too short on action," Clinton added.
Republican John McCain
McCain has called for greater transparency and accountability and wants mortgage lenders to figure out a way to help their cash-strapped, credit worthy customers.
The Arizona senator said he thought Paulson's plan included some "good recommendations" and placed some of the blame for the financial crisis on laxity by some state agencies.
"I think consolidation of the various supervisory bureaucracies is a very important recognition that we are in a global economy, and transparency and closer oversight is necessary," he said.
"Consolidation and investigation of state regulations over certain financial practices is a very important step forward," McCain added. "I think we are finding that some of the state regulatory agencies were lax in their oversight and supervision of some of the egregious practices that led to this crisis in America and the world's financial markets."