The foundation of the American Dream is to have a home to call your own. Unfortunately, the booming housing market in previous years allowed too many individuals to buy a home that they could not afford with loans that were not appropriate given their financial circumstances. Today, those individuals are facing foreclosure and the surrounding communities are seeing drastic drops in property values and taxes. In order to reestablish confidence in the housing market, it is important for me and my colleagues in Congress to support policies that provide assistance to at-risk homeowners and relief to negatively impacted communities.
As part of my work on housing issues, I have cosponsored an important piece of legislation that is designed to stop the continuing foreclosures across the United States. The Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act, H.R. 363, would allow all homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance at the current interest rates for up to 40 years at a fixed rate. Refinancing would allow homeowners to take advantage of the current low market interest rates and significantly lower their monthly mortgage payments, resulting in fewer foreclosures and helping to stabilize the housing market and our economy. This bill will assist homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments and help halt the steady stream of devastating foreclosures that are hitting our communities across the country.
Another important way to assist homeowners is to ensure that they have access to transparent information regarding mortgages and credit. I voted in favor of legislation creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent agency with a range of rulemaking, information-gathering, supervisory and enforcement tools to regulate financial products such as mortgages and credit cards. I believe with adequate knowledge and protections, consumers can responsibly achieve the American dream of homeownership.
I will continue to focus on addressing foreclosures; an issue too many homeowners still face. Whether homeowners can no longer afford their monthly payments due to job loss or increasing adjustable rate mortgages, or they cannot sell their home because they owe more than it is worth, foreclosure rates may continue to rise for the near term. I will remain vigilant in finding solutions to avoid foreclosure and that continue to push for reforms to ensure that the American dream of owning a home remains attainable.