WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, which passed the House 234-191:
“I applaud the House’s passage of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act.
“A single foreclosed home can threaten a neighborhood; a neighborhood of foreclosed homes can help bring down the economy of a city; and a nation full of foreclosures can expect economic turmoil, and frozen credit, and layoffs, and decreasing demand, and more layoffs. Today, 14 million families’ mortgages are underwater, and foreclosed homes can drive down the value of neighbors’ property by nearly 10%. That’s why this bill is so necessary.
“The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act puts into law some of the most important provisions of President Obama’s homeowner stability plan, making it easier for lenders to renegotiate mortgages for families who are underwater, close to foreclosure, or nearing bankruptcy. And for families that are driven into bankruptcy by their home payments, this bill allows bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of their loans—a step that is free for taxpayers and could reduce foreclosures by 20%. Today, investors can restructure debt on their vacation homes; speculators can do it for their properties; and corporations can do it for their private planes. It is only fair that average Americans have the same right for their homes. This bill is made for those who acted responsibly but need this breathing room because of circumstances they could not control—circumstances like unemployment or the nationwide decline in home values.
“The effects of a foreclosure go far deeper than one family and one now-vacant house. They go to the health of an entire economy and to a crisis that will not end until this mortgage mess is cleaned up. I hope that this bill quickly gets to the President’s desk for a signature.”