WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged senators to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the US financial system that would include a new agency to protect consumers from Wall Streets excesses. These reforms are essential, Obama said in his weekly radio address. As Ive urged over the past year, we need common-sense rules that will allow our markets to function fairly and freely while reining in the worst practices of the financial industry. On Monday, the Senate banking committee will debate a proposal by Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd that is designed to halt what he sees as abuse and excess by financial firms. Congressional officials say the bill proposes greater scrutiny of large financial firms; oversight over the sales of complicated financial products such as derivatives; and measures to prevent banks from engaging in risky dealings through their own hedge funds. It would also give shareholders inside companies a say in determining executive salaries and bonuses. And the bill proposes to set up a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to prevent predatory loan practices and other abuses. The House of Representatives has already passed a similar reform proposal. I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country, Obama said in his address. And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.