NEW DIRECTION FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, NATIONAL SECURITY, AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AND THE RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY CONSERVATION TAX ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - April 10, 2008)
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Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, there is a justifiable feeling of anger and worry across America today regarding the ongoing housing crisis. Millions of Americans are currently bearing a heavy burden to keep their family homes and desperate for relief. The clamor for the Federal Government to act quickly has been heard by the Senate and we are now set to vote on a bipartisan package that will offer some assistance to suffering homeowners.
Without action, the pain of the foreclosure crisis will not only be felt by the millions of American families who stand to lose their homes but by all Americans. Congress must confront this reality and pass legislation that has three key components: it is temporary in nature, has an immediate goal of helping cash-strapped but credit-worthy home owners stay in their homes, and prevents a mortgage crisis from happening again.
The bill before the Senate is not perfect, but it does contain several provisions that I support and believe can help our housing market--for both mortgage borrowers and lenders--now and in the future. It is important to avoid situations in which homeowners owe more money than their home is worth. Unfortunately, that has become too common a scenario in part because many homeowners never had much equity in their home to begin with. This bill contains a provision that would ensure homeowners avoid this situation by requiring a modest increase in the downpayment necessary for Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages. This legislation can also offer some relief to borrowers by increasing the amount of FHA-insured loans, which typically carry lower interest rates. Additionally, it is also vital to have well-informed borrowers who understand the terms and obligations in a mortgage agreement and provide lenders with accurate and easily understood financial information. The bill expands the early disclosures requirements under the Truth In Lending Act and requires a new disclosure informing borrowers of the maximum monthly payments possible under their loans. While these provisions should help bring about some relief, I do not think we should kid ourselves into believing that this bill is the panacea for our housing crisis.
I am supporting this bill and thank its bipartisan sponsors. However, I do want the record to be clear that I remain concerned over the inclusion of several provisions that do not adhere to my principles for mortgage relief and question the effectiveness of these provisions in delivering needed assistance to home owners. Mr. President, again, I thank those who have worked so hard on this measure on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to acting on this important subject.
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