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Wednesday: Obama to Sign Financial Reform; New Sanctions on N. Korea

President Barack Obama is expected Wednesday to sign a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations. “In an ironic touch,” notes the Associated Press, President Obama will sign the bill in downtown Washington, D.C., at the Ronald Reagan Building, named after a president who pushed deregulation.

You can find details of what’s in the bill, which the Senate passed last week, here, here and here.

The Washington Post’s Michael Shear reports on who won’t be attending Wednesday’s signing: “Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, Wells Fargo’s John G. Stumpf and — somewhat surprisingly — JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon.”

CNN Money’s Jennifer Liberto breaks down the timeline of when the new rules take place:

“[M]ost of the rules limiting the kinds of risky bets that big Wall Street banks can make and how much cash they must keep on hand are several years away.”

One aspect of the bill gaining notice is a provision that targets minerals from Congo. It will require U.S. companies “to disclose what steps they are taking to ensure that their products, including laptops, cellphones and medical devices, don’t contain ‘conflict minerals’ from the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” reports the Washington Post.

Elsewhere in a busy day of economic news:

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke begins two days of congressional testimony about the health of the U.S. economy. “Can and should the Federal Reserve do more to get the economy moving?” asks the New York Times. Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer says Bernanke’s options are limited.

The bill to extend jobless benefits will likely pass the Senate and head to the House.

The housing market is slowing again. “In major markets across the country, home sales are deteriorating, inventories of unsold homes are piling up and builders are scaling back construction plans,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Relief Tunnel Should Reach Well This Weekend

With pressure inside BP’s broken well in the Gulf of Mexico continuing to rise, the federal government authorized another 24-hour monitoring period of the capped well to search for signs of damage beneath the sea floor, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

A relief tunnel should reach the well by the weekend, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. The effort to permanently plug the well would then start in roughly two weeks.

New Sanctions Against North Korea

During a visit to South Korea on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced new sanctions against North Korea, which are designed, she said, to rein in nuclear activities by stopping illegal moneymaking ventures used to fund the program. She said the measures would target the sale and purchase of arms and import of luxury goods. Clinton is visiting South Korea with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The BBC’s John Sudworth writes:

“North Korea had said right from the start that it would see any new sanctions as an act of war, so I think we can safely expect a pretty strong reaction from Pyongyang over the next few days.”

The Morning Line

For your politics news, read our new daily post, “The Morning Line,” by political editor David Chalian.

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