Senate Democrats

Industry Experts, Housing Advocates and Economists Support Bipartisan Housing Bill

The bipartisan housing bill on the floor of the Senate has garnered support from industry experts, housing advocates and economists, who all believe this legislation is a critical step towards stabilizing the housing market and get our economy back on track. The bill reforms regulation of the Government Sponsored Enterprises, modernizes the FHA, helps families avoid foreclosure and establishes an affordable housing trust fund to help low-income families. Senate Republicans should join with Democrats to pass this bipartisan legislation without delay.

Industry experts support bipartisan Senate housing bill:

National Association of Realtors Said Housing Bill Is Critical to Calming Mortgage Markets, Strengthening Housing Markets and Stabilizing Our Economy. “On behalf of the 1.2 million members of the National Association of REALTORS, I urge immediate consideration of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This important bill is critical to calming mortgage markets, strengthening housing markets, and stabilizing our economy. The National Association of REALTORS has consistently supported the goals of this legislation – FHA reform, GSE reform, FHA foreclosure prevention, a tax credit for homebuyers, additional mortgage revenue bonds modernization of the LIHTC program, and development of a National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. As more and more American families face foreclosure, and mortgage markets struggle, this package of proposals is essential to putting our country back on the right course.” [National Association of Realtors Letter, 6/19/08]

Mortgage Bankers Association Urged Swift Passage of Legislation to Strengthen Regulatory Oversight of Government Sponsored Enterprises. “On behalf of the member companies of the Mortgage Bankers Association, I encourage the Senate to pass legislation to strengthen the regulatory oversight of the housing Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). We strongly support moving this legislation through the Senate to reconcile with the House and enact this year. Passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation is a vital step in restoring confidence in the capital markets.” [Mortgage Bankers Association, 6/17/08]

Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Council Called GSE Regulatory Reform, FHA Modernization and Hope for Homeowners “Important Components” in the Effort to Stabilize Housing Market. We are writing to urge prompt Senate consideration of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This legislation contains GSE regulatory reform; FHA modernization and an FHA refinance program which are important components in the effort to stabilize and strengthen the housing finance system for American homeowners… The bill contains the essential components needed to strengthen the regulation of the housing-GSEs. The creation of a new, independent regulator with clear oversight authority will help stabilize the housing finance system and begin to restore confidence and liquidity to the market which will benefit consumers and the overall economy. In addition, the bill contains FHA modernization reforms and the “Hope for Homeowners” FHA refinance program for at-risk homeowners. FHA modernization is essential for that agency to play its proper role in assisting low and moderate income homeowners and the refinance program would provide an additional option to help at-risk homeowners.” [Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Council Letter, 6/18/08]

Securities Industry and Financial Markets AssociationSaid Bipartisan Housing Bill Responds to Needs of Struggling Homeowners and Will Stabilize the Mortgage Market.  “The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) supports further and timely consideration of the American Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 currently being debated by the Senate. We believe this legislation responds to the critical and urgent housing needs faced by troubled homeowners and should aid in the liquidity and stability of the mortgage market. SIFMA particularly supports the tax-exempt bond provisions in the legislation. The legislation would increase the annual volume cap on tax-exempt housing by bonds by $11 billion in 2008. This additional bond capacity would enhance the ability of state and local governments to respond to urgent housing needs.”[Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Letter, 6/23/08]

Housing advocates and community economic development organizations support bipartisan housing bill:

Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Praised Bipartisan Housing Bill for Including Housing Trust Fund Compromise. “On behalf of the 5,700 endorsers of the National Housing Trust Fund campaign, I want to express our deepest appreciation for your leadership on what we think is the most important housing bill of our time. You, along with Senator Jack Reed, should be commended for negotiating a compromise for the overall bill that garnered strong bipartisan support in the committee. The National Housing Trust Fund Campaign supports the Housing Trust Fund established by this bipartisan bill, the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008.  This provision will allow the housing trust fund to continue to grow over time so that more housing affordable to extremely and very low income people can be produced and preserved.  These provisions will help ensure that the housing trust fund focuses on the very lowest income households, who have the greatest housing affordability problems.” [Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Michael Rubinger, President and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Said Struggling Families and the Nation’s Economy Urgently Need Housing Bill. “This is the most important housing legislation in this decade. Struggling families and communities and the nation’s economy urgently need this bill to help prevent mortgage foreclosures, stabilize neighborhoods undermined by foreclosures and vacant properties, and provide new capital essential to home ownership, affordable rental housing, and community revitalization.” [Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08

Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network, Said Housing Bill Will Transform Mortgage Industry, Grow Financial Markets and Expand Home Ownership Market While Help Low-Income Families. “Chairman Dodd’s bipartisan leadership has produced legislation that can transform America’s mortgage industry and plant the seeds of growth in financial markets. The bill’s multifaceted solutions for housing for our nation’s neediest and the regulatory reform of the GSEs is innovative and smart; these solutions will help bring stability and expansion to the home ownership market. The Capital Magnet Fund is an unprecedented high-value investment in long-term growth and housing expansion, while the National Housing Trust Fund is a sound strategy for ensuring quality, affordable housing for extremely low-income people. This country, especially those in low-income urban, rural, and reservation-based markets owe a word of thanks to the Chairman.”[Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Nancy O. Andrews, President, Low Income Investment Fund, Called Housing Bill One of the Most Important Pieces for Low-Income People in 20 Years. “We applaud Chairman Dodd’s leadership in creating bipartisan support for the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation for low-income people and communities in the past 20 years. The Capital Magnet Fund will leverage billions of dollars in additional private investment for low-income communities across the United States. Chairman Dodd is a real champion on behalf of America’s communities.”[Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Elyse Cherry, CEO, Boston Community Capital, Said Housing Bill Will Improve Efficiency and Service of GSEs. “A strong, efficient GSE system is critical to ensuring smooth flows of capital to communities and people underserved by mainstream markets. The Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 moves GSEs forward to a new level of efficiency and service by strengthening the partnerships that will help them lead the way in providing financing for affordable housing and low-income communities. We commend Chairman Dodd for his unwavering support and for this legislation and look forward to its passage by the Senate.”[Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Fran Grossman, Senior Vice President of Shore Bank Corporation, Said Housing Bill Provide Access and Resources to Help Families Hold Onto the American Dream. “The housing crisis and mortgage meltdown pose the greatest threats to the stability and well-being of our communities since redlining more than 40 years ago. With millions of hard working Americans torn between looking for work and putting gas in the tank or paying the mortgage, we must enact legislation that will provide access to the resources that will help families to hold onto the American Dream and get the economy moving again. Chairman Dodd’s Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 does just that.” [Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Allen Fishbein, Director of Housing and Credit Policy at the Consumer Federation of America, Praised Housing Bill for Helping to Avert Foreclosures and Aiding  Low-Income Families. “With foreclosures on the rise a stepped-up federal lifeline is desperately needed if many hard pressed families are to save their homes.  Consumer Federation of America is pleased that the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act” includes new tools aimed at averting foreclosures, such as by making greater use of the FHA program to refinance those facing foreclosure into long-term sustainable mortgages.  Provisions for enhancing the affordable housing mission of the Government Sponsored Housing Enterprises should also help to encourage the reliable flow of responsible home loan credit to underserved markets.  We appreciate the diligence and commitment shown by Chairman Dodd and Ranking Member Shelby in forging bi-partisan consensus in support of this legislation and for the need for congressional action on the foreclosure crisis.”[Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Economists and industry experts support the bipartisan Senate housing bill:

Alan S. Blinder, Former Vice Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Called HOPE for Homeowners Most Important Piece of Economic Legislation Before Congress Today. “I think the HOPE for Homeowners bill is the most important piece of economic legislation before the Congress today. The financial markets will not cure themselves until the housing crisis wanes, and the housing crisis will not be resolved until we get a handle on the foreclosure problem. This bill is an excellent first step. We need it—now.” [Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Alex Pollack, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and Former President and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Said He Strongly Supported HOPE for Homeowners and GSE Reform “I do in particular support the troubled loan refinancing program, HOPE for Homeowners, combined with GSE regulatory reform.  HOPE for Homeowners uses the historically successful principles of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to create a temporary program to put borrowers on a sustainable basis while reliquifying mortgage investors with realization of loss for the investors.  This is an appropriate and targeted approach to the downward spiral caused by the deflation of the great housing and mortgage bubble of the 21st century.  The creation of a combined housing GSE regulator is a good idea, long overdue.  The use of fees from the GSEs to help fund the refinancing program so that the overall package supports itself is a very good idea.” [Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]

Robert J. Shiller, the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics and Professor of Finance at Yale University and Chief Economist for MacroMarkets LLC, Said Housing Bill Will Help Homeowners Having Trouble Making Their Payments. “I support the Hope for Homeowners Act which will help homeowners who are having trouble making their mortgage payments.”[Senate Banking Committee Statement, 6/20/08]