House Democrats and GOP Battling over Obama Foreclosure-Rescue Programs

Article excerpt

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) and Democratic colleagues in the House have found themselves leading a fight to preserve some of the key Obama administration foreclosure-prevention programs. But judging by the votes to date, they are losing the battle in the House. What happens in the Senate will be a whole other story.

On the chopping block in the House have been the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and other foreclosure-prevention programs. Waters is a senior Democrat and former subcommittee chairwoman on the House Financial Services Committee, which came under Republican control when the GOP took back the House. Her press release of March 9 had this headline: "Republicans to Homeowners & Communities: Trouble with Foreclosure? So Be It!"

House Republicans have already succeeded in passing the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act (H.R. 836), which ends a program that provides bridge loans to unemployed homeowners facing possible foreclosure. The FHA Refinance Program Termination Act (H.R. 830) also passed the House.

A vote on a bill to terminate the HAMP program (H.R. 839) is planned for the week after the congressional recess period, according to a press release from the Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee. The bill passed out of committee on a straight party line vote on March 9.

Another bill to terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (H.R. 861) passed the full House on March 16 by a vote of 242 to 182. The program provides funding for municipalities to purchase and redevelop foreclosed or abandoned properties to help prevent blight or a further drag on local housing prices. The bill to end the program is opposed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and others, according to the minority leadership on the House Financial Services Committee. …


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