The House voted to terminate two foreclosure relief programs the week of March 7 while the House Committee on Financial Services voted to bring to the House floor bills that would terminate two other programs related to foreclosure mitigation.
On March 10, the House voted 256 to 171 to pass H.R. 830, which would terminate the Federal Housing Administration’s refinance program (see Memo, 3/4). This program writes down the mortgages of FHA-insured homeowners who are up to date on their mortgage payments, and provides Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to lenders to cover a share of their losses from the write downs.
In the ‘dissenting views’ of the Committee on Financial Service’s report on H.R. 830, Committee Democrats wrote against the termination of H.R. 830, as well as the House majority’s determination to eliminate the other three programs related to foreclosure assistance, stating that “H.R. 830, the ‘FHA Refinance Program Termination Act,’ is one of four bills being advanced by the Majority as a coordinated assault on federal programs designed to address the nationwide housing and foreclosure crisis. This bill would terminate an important FHA refinance program that can be used in conjunction with lender write downs of principal on ‘underwater’ mortgage loans.”
On March 12, the House voted 242 to 177 to pass H.R. 836, which would terminate HUD’s nascent emergency homeowner loan program (see Memo, 3/4). This program is intended to help distressed homeowners keep current on their mortgages by providing loans to people who have experienced significant reduction in income and are at risk of foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment or a medical condition.
On March 9, the Committee passed two bills, H.R. 839 and H.R. 861. The Committee’s vote on H.R. 839 to terminate the home affordable modification program, referred to as HAMP, was 32 to 23. The vote on H.R. 861, which would rescind all of the $1 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding provided in round three through the Dodd-Frank Act and terminate the NSP program altogether, was 31 to 24. Both votes were strictly on party lines, with Republicans in favor of termination and Democrats opposed.
On March 10, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced S. 527, a Senate companion to the House’s HAMP termination bill. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
The full House is expected to vote on H.R. 839 and H.R. 861 the week of March 14.
Access information related to the March 9 mark up at http://financialservices.house.gov/Hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1794