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Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WATT. I thank our ranking member for yielding time.

I'm here today because this is a series of actions, all of which I oppose, that are in sequence. And I think we need to put this in perspective.

Yesterday, my colleagues were proposing to terminate the FHA Refinance Program that helps people refinance mortgages under FHA. Next week, we'll be back on the floor out of our committee with a proposal that they have made to do away with the Community Stabilization Program, which is designed really to stabilize communities and keep people who own properties and are trying to pay their mortgages from seeing the values of their properties go down even further. And next week they'll be offering a proposal to do away with the mortgage refinance assistance program called HAMP.

Of all of the four proposals, including the one we're here debating today, this, I think, is the most mean spirited and most duplicitous one and I think the one that most vigorously deserves to be opposed by my colleagues here in the House; because this proposes to do away with a program that assists people who were employed, got a mortgage, were paying their mortgage, then lost their jobs to the downturn in the economy and found themselves in a position where they could no longer afford to pay their mortgage. These are not people who were out getting second homes. These are working people who had jobs, fell on bad times, and lost their jobs and getting unemployment benefits. And all we're saying is give them a break for 12 months and give them the opportunity to go back into the marketplace and find a job, and then they can resume paying their mortgages.

It is absolutely mean spirited to say to somebody who has complied with all the rules and lost their job by no fault of their own and then find themselves unable to pay their mortgages that we won't try to give you some measure of relief.

It's further complicated--made even more duplicitous, really--by a provision that has been inserted into this bill that directs the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to conduct a study and, based on that study, issue a report on the best practices that could be used to implement this program--a program which they are proposing to terminate.

Why would you spend taxpayer money to have a study on the best practices to implement a program that the bill itself says is going to be terminated? A waste of taxpayer money. Yet my colleagues are here representing to the Members of this House and to the American public that their whole objective is to save the taxpayers money.


Mr. WATT. I don't understand the rationale of my colleagues. And it would be something else if this bill were going to see the light of day in the Senate. It's not going anywhere.

This is a message bill, Mr. Chairman. That's all this is about. Let's send a message to the American people that we can cut. Whether we're cutting money that's taxpayer money or cutting money that's going to be paid out of the top fund that the law requires the biggest financial institutions in America to make the taxpayers whole, if, at the end of the day there is a deficit in repaying this money, it doesn't matter. Let's just stand up and beat on our chest and say to the American people and think that they will believe that we are doing something to save them tax dollars.

This bill saves no tax dollars, and it's an abomination.


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