Rep. Fattah Vows to Preserve Mortgage Foreclosure Relief Program After Republicans Vote Against It

Mar 11, 2011, 16:38 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2011  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the architect of emergency foreclosure relief legislation, today vowed to work with the Senate and the Obama Administration to protect and advance the program after Republicans voted to de-fund it.

"House Republicans today took another pound-foolish step by voting to de-fund the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program. This bridge-loan program provides a lifeline for middle-class homeowners who face foreclosure through no fault of their own because of the predatory and economy-wrecking policies of Wall Street," Fattah said.

The Philadelphia Congressman said Congress must "reject the notion that emergency foreclosure relief is a new or untried program" and keep it functioning as it reaches the rollout stage on the national level.

"It is a replication of a program in Pennsylvania that I designed and which has been operating successfully for more than 20 years," the Philadelphia Congressman said. "The federal program is not a grant or a giveaway. It provides small bridge loans to mortgage holders who have lost their jobs and is modeled after Pennsylvania's Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. HEMAP has made $235 million in such loans and actually received $250 million in repayments."

Today's vote on H.R. 836 to cancel the $1 billion program was approved by the Republican majority. It now goes to the Senate where it faces serious opposition. Republicans also defeated a Democratic proposal to keep emergency mortgage relief in effect for veterans and active duty military.

Fattah, who conducted a press conference this morning with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), the program's Senate champion, said he would work with Casey to protect emergency mortgage relief. President Obama earlier this week issued a statement promising to veto the bill if it clears Congress.

"Emergency foreclosure relief is all about keeping the American dream of home ownership alive for law abiding citizens who have temporarily fallen behind in their solid - not subprime - mortgages," Fattah said.

"The House Republican majority has been only too happy to keep bailing out Wall Street, which has caused such mortgage misery, while it criticizes such successful efforts as keeping the American auto industry afloat. But won't bail out the homeowners along Main Street.

"Today's wrong-headed attempt to wipe out emergency mortgage assistance before it even hits the ground is nothing more than a political statement. Their attempt is doomed to fail, along with the rest of the Republicans' proposed budget cuts, which in any case amount to only 1.5 percent of total spending."

Fattah added, "We are a great nation. You can be sure that Americans will be at the forefront of international relief efforts for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, just as we always are. It makes no sense for the richest nation in the world to turn hard-working but temporarily unemployed Americans into homeless families who will inevitably cost the taxpayers more in the end."

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah