Washington, DC—Democratic Senators John Kerry and Sherrod Brown held a press conference with a labor expert, economist and a business leader today to discuss widespread support behind bipartisan legislation that will address the housing crisis. The compromise bill would keep thousands of people at risk of foreclosure from losing their homes, help stabilize the housing market, create new jobs here at home and modernize the Federal Housing Administration.
“We’ve seen how foreclosures can have a ripple effect across the economy,” Kerry said. “This urgent, complex problem requires real solutions, not broken promises or empty political rhetoric. While not perfect, this legislation will reduce foreclosures; increase access to safe and fair mortgage credit for all homebuyers; and help our economy by creating critically-needed housing construction jobs. We have a commitment to those Americans who are struggling every month just to pay their mortgage loans and keep their homes – we must continue the fight to help hardworking families keep the roofs over their heads.”
Said Brown: “The American Dream is slipping away from thousands of middle class Ohioans due to the rise in foreclosures. We must act swiftly to reverse this trend and invest in our neighborhoods. This week, I’ll be fighting for legislation that will help families hold onto their homes and assist in the rebuilding of communities. We will not be deterred by the president’s veto threat of this effort to help American neighborhoods.”
“We need to pass housing stimulus legislation now to jump-start the economy, save jobs and restore confidence,” said Jerry Howard, Executive Vice-President and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders. “This bill contains a home buyer tax credit that will shore up home prices, stimulate home buying and halt the downward spiral in the housing market. It also contains important measures to provide foreclosure relief for strapped borrowers and FHA and GSE reform to get mortgage money flowing again.”
Said Andrew Jakabovics, Associate Director for the Economic Mobility Program at the Center for American Progress: “The housing crisis continues to be the greatest risk to the economy and the prospects for all American families, not just those directly affected. Neighbors and communities a half mile away are affected by each foreclosure and the impacts can last as long as five years. As home values decline, college dreams, new business hopes, retirement savings and rainy day funds disappear overnight. The Senate bill will reduce the risk of a serious overcorrection and help stabilize home values in many communities around the country.”
“With foreclosures at record levels, an expanded federal lifeline is desperately needed to help financially strapped families save their homes,” said Allen Fishbein, Director of Housing and Credit Policy for the Consumer Federation of America. “The Consumer Federation of America is pleased that the ‘Housing and Economic Recovery Act’ includes new tools aimed at averting foreclosures, such as making greater use of the FHA program to refinance at-risk homeowners into mortgages they can afford. Provisions in the bill for enhancing the affordable housing mission of the Government Sponsored Housing Enterprises should foster responsible home lending and promote the construction of much needed affordable rental housing. We appreciate the hard work that has gone into forging bi-partisan consensus on the urgent need for action by the Senate in this time of crisis.”