This is a very strange Congress. At a time when Wall Street has been bailed out, and banks that kicked people out of their homes have been bailed out, a lot of programs that have been created to help keep people in their homes are going to be canceled by the majority. Of course, that will cause more people to lose their homes to the banks. So the banks in America have people coming and going. And they keep getting more and more money.
Millions of Americans are facing or will face foreclosure in the coming months. Their hold on their homes has been endangered by unemployment or predatory loan terms or falling house values. We are in the worst crisis facing homeowners in the history of this country.
The facts are well-known. No one in the House can feign lack of knowledge of the misery that has gripped American homeowners and neighborhoods across the country. Yet today, this House takes up a bill to terminate a program intended to assist distressed borrowers. Next week the house will consider more bills to eliminate two other assistance programs.
What message is this Congress sending? If you are a distressed borrower or a relative who is in trouble or a neighbor in distress, the message of this House is tough luck. Worried about losing your house? Tough luck.
Government assistance to distressed borrowers should be effective. I can agree with my colleagues on that. I share the belief that some of the programs intended to assist distressed borrowers do not help enough people. But is that an argument to just end the programs? You know people need help. The programs aren't effective. Just say, well, we are going to end the program. How does that help people stay in their homes? It doesn't.
I submit that the fundamental problem with these programs is they depended on the voluntary participation of the very banks and service that is created the housing crisis in the first place. So the programs are set up where you need the banks to participate, banks don't want to participate or they slow walk the applications and before you know it people are just left in a desperate strait where their homes are being lost.
Now, when the banks were in trouble, taxpayer assistance was rushed forward. I voted against the bailouts. Now that the banks have emerged from a crisis, unfortunately our friends in the majority are determined to dismantle the few legal efforts that are there to preserve and protect homeowners.
We should be reforming these programs, not dismantling them. If the House approves the bill before us today, H.R. 836, Congress will be turning its back on people whose lives have been wrecked by a crisis created by irresponsible banking practices.
I hope that we take a very cold and sober look at what we are doing here. We are attacking the very victims of this housing crisis. We are giving comfort to those who created the crisis.
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