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Doyle Fights to Preserve Help for Families at Risk of Losing Their Homes

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) announced that he had voted against GOP legislation to eliminate assistance to Americans at risk of losing their homes.

"While the Home Affordable Modification Program hasn't helped enough homeowners, it makes little sense to eliminate it when so many Americans remain at risk of losing their homes," Congressman Doyle said. "Rather than nix the program, we ought to be working to fix it, so it helps more hard-working families who were victims of the recession."

The Home Affordable Modification Program Termination Act (H.R. 839), which the House passed yesterday, is the latest Republican-led effort to eliminate housing and mortgage assistance for struggling middle class homeowners. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which H.R. 839 would eliminate, provides a typical borrower with a $500 reduction in monthly mortgage payments and has helped more than 600,000 families secure permanently lower mortgage payments.

Other bills that House Republicans have passed recently to eliminate help households at risk of losing their homes include:

* H.R. 830, abolishing help for families who are underwater to refinance into lower-cost mortgages they can afford to repay.
* H.R. 836, eliminating short-term loans for up to 33,000 homeowners who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are at risk of losing their homes.
* H.R. 861, eliminating efforts to strengthen hard hit neighborhoods enabling cities and states to buy up and rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned homes that are driving down home prices, and destabilizing neighborhoods.

In addition, over the past four years, Republicans have repeatedly voted against legislation to address the foreclosure crisis, end the abusive practices of some in the financial industry that contributed to it, and help the millions of families at risk of losing their homes. Most House Republicans voted:

* To eliminate HUD funding for housing counseling to keep people in their homes, as one of their first priorities this Congress. [2011]
* Against comprehensive anti-predatory lending legislation (three times), including provisions in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to stop reckless, abusive and irresponsible mortgage lending practices that played a major role in the financial crisis, and to make sure that families get mortgages they can repay. [2007, 2009, 2010]
* Twice against a first-time homebuyer's tax credit to spur home buying. [2008, 2009]
* Against a comprehensive foreclosure crisis bill to prevent families from losing their homes and their neighbors from losing value in their homes -- with expanded opportunities to refinance into lower-cost government-insured mortgages families can afford to repay, putting in place a tough, independent new regulator in charge of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [2008]
* Against legislation to push lenders into modifying loans for families in danger of losing their homes, by allowing bankruptcy judges, as a court of last resort, to modify loans for families with existing mortgages. [2009]

A broad range of housing groups, and consumer and civil rights organizations -- such as the Center for Responsible Lending, NAACP, Americans for Financial Reform, and the National Association of Counties -- oppose the attempt to terminate HAMP, and President Obama has already threatened to veto the bill.

"The House Republicans' efforts in recent weeks to end all assistance for struggling middle-class homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure is relentlessly consistent, if nothing else," Congressman Doyle observed "They even rejected a Democratic proposal to continue the program for active duty military and Gold Star families. That's a pretty lousy way to acknowledge our debt to those who have sacrificed so much for our country."

House Democrats filed a "Motion to Recommit" on H.R. 839 which, if it had been approved, would have modified the bill to allow the Secretary of the Treasury to provide assistance under HAMP to any homeowner who is currently an active duty member of the Armed Forces or to any person eligible to receive a Gold Star pin as a widow, parent or next of kin of a member of the Armed Forces who has died. This Motion to Recommit was defeated and the Home Affordable Modification Program Termination Act was passed on largely party-line votes.

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