Senate Democrats

In Letter To McConnell, Reid Seeks Cooperation From GOP In Dealing With Housing Crisis

Washington D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell today to ask for his cooperation in addressing the housing crisis.  Late last month, Senate Republicans blocked consideration of the Foreclosure Prevention Act which would keep families facing foreclosure in their homes, help other families avoid foreclosures in the future, and help communities already harmed by foreclosure to recover.

As the recent economic indicators continue to depict a struggling economy rocked by a wave of foreclosures, Democrats believe it is more important than ever for the Senate to take steps to prevent the crisis from spreading.  Recent events have made it clear that the Federal Reserve and the Bush Administration are ready to take unprecedented moves to ease the crisis on Wall Street, and Senate Democrats are no less committed to providing relief to the hundreds of thousands who are suffering on Main Street.

The text of the letter is below:

March 28, 2008

Senator Mitch McConnell
Senate Republican Leader
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator McConnell:

Early next week I will again try to proceed to the Foreclosure Prevention Act, a measure Senate Democrats introduced and tried to move forward on last month.  Unfortunately at that time, nearly every Senate Republican refused to even let the Senate debate this important measure.

Since then, the nation’s economic troubles and the challenges facing millions of Americans have grown.   For example, rather than hiring new employees, employers across this nation have shed jobs for the last two consecutive months.  Sparked by oil priced at more than $100 a barrel, energy prices have reached record heights.  The Mortgage Bankers Association’s survey for the fourth quarter of 2007 showed that the total delinquency rate on home mortgages is the highest in that survey’s history.  Home prices have dropped dramatically, both a reflection and cause of the increase in foreclosures many families and neighborhoods have experienced.  And finally, the Federal Reserve has taken a number of dramatic measures and used hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars to shore up our economy; these measures include collaborating with the Department of Treasury to save a major investment bank from insolvency.

These events and others serve to heighten the urgency that Congress act to help American families and communities facing an escalation of foreclosures.  The Foreclosure Prevention Act is designed to do that. 

Much of the federal government’s responses to the housing crisis to date have addressed the problems confronting our nation’s financial markets.  While those actions have been helpful in many instances, Senate Democrats believe we can further help our economy and our communities by paying equal attention to families facing similarly dire circumstances.  After considering the economic costs to foreclosures, which include a loss in home equity that ripples through neighborhoods and dampens consumer confidence, preventing foreclosures and keeping families in homes must be part of any effort to improve our nation’s economic health.  In short, the federal government has provided assistance to Wall Street; now Congress must turn its attention to Main Street.

The Foreclosure Prevention Act contains necessary, targeted and appropriate solutions as currently drafted.  While many of the bill’s provisions enjoy broad bipartisan support, Senate Democrats are prepared to engage in a robust debate and consider amendments related to this bill.  With this commitment, I am hopeful that Senate Republicans will choose to work with us next week to bring needed relief to families and communities across the country.


                                    HARRY REID