BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?
Mr. DEUTCH. I am, in its current form.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to recommit.
The Clerk read as follows:
Mr. Deutch of Florida moves to recommit the bill, H.R. 830, to the Committee on Financial Services with instructions to report the same back to the House forthwith with the following amendments:
In section 3(b), before ``shall continue'' insert the following: ``, and any amounts made available for use under such Program pursuant to subsection (d),''.
In section 3(c), after ``such enactment,'' insert ``or pursuant to a commitment to insure made pursuant amounts made available for use under such Program pursuant to subsection (d),''
In section 3, strike subsection (d) and insert the following new subsection:
(d) Continuation of Program for Senior Homeowners.--
(1) IDENTIFICATION OF AMOUNTS FOR REFINANCINGS FOR SENIOR HOMEOWNERS.--Not later than the expiration of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall--
(A) determine the amount necessary to provide assistance under the FHA Refinance Program described in subsection (a) to senior homeowners (as such term is defined in paragraph (3) of this subsection); and
(B) submit notice of such determination to the Congress that specifies such amount.
(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--Effective upon the submission to the Congress by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development of the notice required under paragraph (1), there is authorized to be appropriated, for assistance under the FHA Refinance Program referred to in section 2 only for mortgages for senior homeowners, the amount identified in such notice.
(3) SENIOR HOMEOWNER.--For purposes of this subsection, the term ``senior homeowner'' means a homeowner who is a member of a household composed of one or more persons at least one of whom is 62 years of age or older.
Mr. DEUTCH (during the reading). Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Florida?
There was no objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I present an amendment to this legislation that will help the seniors who built America from the bottom up. This amendment provides us with an opportunity not to stall this bill, but improve it, right here and right now. The contributions of the men and women who became known as America's greatest generation should humble us all.
As teenagers, Mr. Speaker, they confronted unspeakable evil and endured incredible sacrifices during World War II. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, their love of country and commitment to hard work created the world's most vibrant economy. They were doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, steelworkers and pipefitters, secretaries and truck drivers. Today, they are seniors who deserve to live their retirement years with dignity and self-sufficiency.
Unfortunately, throughout the financial crisis and this devastating recession, seniors have often gone forgotten. For many, their pensions have dried up or come under attack. Their life savings were decimated by recklessness on Wall Street. They have not received a Social Security cost of living increase for 2 years. Finally, Mr. Speaker, their homes, often their last standing pillar of equity and economic security, have lost their value through no fault of their own.
The community of South Florida I am so privileged to represent is home to one of our Nation's largest populations of retirees. But it is also ground zero for the foreclosure crisis. In 2010, Mr. Speaker, South Florida outpaced the Nation for new foreclosure filings. The counties of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami Dade have suffered the majority of these foreclosures in Florida, and my office fields calls from struggling homeowners every day.
Statewide in Florida, nearly 1 million families and seniors have lost their homes since 2009. Today, nearly half of all Florida homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. They owe banks more money than their homes are now worth. Through no fault of their own, thousands of seniors who built this Nation face the tragedy of losing their homes.
Now, America's greatest generation has never been one to ask for handouts, and today is no exception. What we have the opportunity to do here today is to give our seniors a chance--a chance--to rearrange their deal with their lenders, make their payments, and keep their homes. The mortgage program abolished by the bill needs to be fixed. So let's start by fixing it for seniors, as my proposal will do.
Before us is a real opportunity to amend these programs for the future. It will not send this legislation back to committee. It will not stall this bill. It will simply preserve these mortgage
modification programs for seniors and open the door to improving these initiatives.
According to leading economists, high foreclosure rates and our struggling housing sector remain the biggest challenge to our economic recovery. In Florida, with unemployment at 12 percent, the real estate industry is so integral to our economy, we must stem foreclosures in order to grow the private sector and create jobs. We can begin stabilizing the housing market today and do right by Americans who made this country great for every one of us in this Chamber.
Seniors answered the call of Uncle Sam every week of their working lives, paying taxes for America's schools, roads, military and health care. When asked to serve, these Americans always said yes. Now, when these same men and women are asking for a modest amount of time to renegotiate in good faith, to prevent foreclosure, to remain self-sufficient as retirees, what answer will this body give them?
Every day, it seems, mortgage lenders have their day in Washington. Every day, Wall Street executives have their day in Washington. Every day, Mr. Speaker, banks have their day in Washington. Isn't it time to give the seniors who made America great their day in our Nation's capital?
Let's make today a day for the people who rebuilt this country after the Great Depression, who started the businesses small and large so important to our economy, the people who are our parents and our children's grandparents, who served our nation, who made America what it is today, the people who taught us what it means to be Americans. They're not asking for credit or recognition or attention, but we owe it to them to honor their lifetimes of hard work and responsibility and decency by making it possible for them to live out the rest of their lives with four walls around them and a roof over their heads.
Vote ``yes'' on this amendment.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT