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Public Statements

Conference Report on H.R. 4173, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the time and for his leadership in this tremendous effort.

I would like to spend some time just challenging a notion that is out there that this whole meltdown was unforeseeable by anybody, that nobody could have foreseen it, and dispel that notion by understanding that on March 16, 2004, the first anti-predatory lending bill was introduced in this House of Representatives by BRAD MILLER of North Carolina and myself. We saw forthcoming the possibility of this substantial meltdown, because we knew that predatory loans were out there being made to people who could not afford to pay them back.

Again, on March 9, 2005, in the 109th Congress we reintroduced the bill, the anti-predatory lending bill. On October 22, 2007, we reintroduced the anti-predatory lending bill in the 110th Congress. Finally, finally, in this term of Congress, on March 26, 2009, we reintroduced it for a fourth time, and finally it is incorporated into this legislation.

Now, why is that important? It for the first time puts around loans some prudential rules that say you ought to exercise some common sense when you make a loan to somebody.

Don't do a loan to people without proper documentation of their income. Don't give them a teaser rate for six months and then escalate it by two or three percentage points and increase their fees and their payments exponentially so that they can't pay it back. Don't give them yield spread premiums that reward the people who get people into the worst kind of loans, rather than giving them the best loans available. Don't charge a prepayment penalty for allowing somebody to get out of a higher interest rate into a lower interest rate. Make sure that when you refinance, somebody gets some net tangible benefit out of the refinance, other than the person that is making the loan. Don't allow people to steer to the highest interest rate and worst possible predatory loan when there are other loans available. Don't fail to give the proper disclosures about what is going on. And don't prevent the State Attorneys General from enforcing their own State laws, when we don't even have a Federal law on the books.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

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Mr. WATT. All of that is in this bill. If we had had this kind of legislation in effect when we first started introducing it back in 2004, we could have avoided this.

Don't let anybody say that this was an unforeseeable chain of events that led to this meltdown. We need to correct it and make sure that going forward those kind of predatory practices never, never, never, never occur again in our country.

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