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Public Statements

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

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Location: Washington, DC


HOUSING AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 23, 2008)

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Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding time.

This is a big, big deal when it comes to housing, when it comes to responsible credit, when it comes to economic recovery in our Nation. This could perhaps be the most important bill that we have considered during the 16 years certainly that I've been a Member of Congress.

And to the extent that a lot of these reforms were already in the pipeline and well-thought-out and are now being implemented in response to a crisis, the fact that the crisis has occurred has forced us to do it.

And then there are some things in the bill that are being done solely in response to the crisis, and some of those things have been questioned by our colleagues on the other side as perhaps extending more responsibility to Fannie and Freddie, while at the same time increasing their risk, and there are concerns about that.

One of the most important things I think in this bill is a lot of these bad loans are having to be unwound, and borrowers need counseling to get them unwound. And we've given some funds in this bill to fund ongoing counseling, and we've added to it the ability to get some legal advice.

On the Senate side, they put in a provision. We had already said you can't use any of that money for class action litigation. On the Senate side, they put in a provision that said no civil litigation, and I think I'm satisfied that civil litigation is not broad enough to cover advice about foreclosures, that I've asked the Chair just to give me his opinion about whether the language in the bill is broad enough to foreclose any legal assistance with foreclosures.

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