Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) released the following opening statement today at an ad hoc hearing convened by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on the foreclosure crisis:
[As prepared for delivery]
"Thank you very much. I'm very grateful to our witnesses for joining us today and sharing their expert views on this urgent matter facing families and communities nationwide.
"I don't think you can overstate the deep emotional attachment that people have to their homes. Your house is more than just a structure, a collection of brick or other building materials. Yes, it's a roof over your head, but it also occupies a special place in your heart. That explains why the foreclosure crisis in particular has been such a punch in the gut to the American people. When people lose their homes, of course it undermines their economic security and standard of living. But it's also a devastating emotional blow, a trauma that shakes your foundation and calls into question everything you believed about the American Dream.
"Can you just imagine telling your child that the room that they love will no longer be their room? Can you imagine having to tell a son or daughter that they have to pack everything up and move out of the space where they've built memories, opened holiday presents and eaten their family meals for as long as they can remember?
"For the strength of our economy and the vitality of our communities, we have to do more to keep people in their homes. We have to give more people the opportunity to refinance, to make mortgage modifications and rebuild equity in their homes. There has to be more debt forgiveness and extension of repayment periods. And we have to push for mortgage principal writedowns for underwater homeowners.
"Let's remember that this is something that happened to the American people. People who were playing by the rules and doing the right thing were victimized through no fault of their own. And there has to be some accountability. This isn't like an earthquake or hurricane or some other natural disaster that we couldn't prevent. This crisis is largely the fault of unscrupulous, irresponsible lenders and other bad actors engaging in fraudulent practices. Those who profited by preying on the American people need to be held responsible for their actions.
"We have a moral obligation to stabilize the housing market and solve this crisis that has ruined so many lives. Nothing less than our economic recovery and the future of the American middle class are at stake here. Thank you again. I look forward to hearing your testimony."