President Barack Obama
Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress to Help Responsible Homeowners
October 1, 2012
In this week’s address, President
Obama told the American people that four years ago this month, a
financial crisis that was largely caused by irresponsibility in the
housing market threatened to destroy the economy. Four years later, the
housing market is slowly healing, but we’re not done yet. That’s why the
Administration has taken aggressive steps to help families stay in their
homes, including giving responsible homeowners a chance to save
thousands of dollars every year by refinancing their mortgages. But we
need Congress’s help to do more. In February, the President sent
Congress a plan to cut red tape so every responsible homeowner gets the
chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at
historically low rates. It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to act
on this plan when they return in November so that we can help
hardworking families and strengthen the middle class.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
September 29, 2012
Hello, everybody. Four years ago this month, a crisis that started out
on Wall Street almost brought down our entire economy. The nation’s
biggest banks were days away from failing. The stock market – and
millions of American retirement accounts – were in free-fall. Credit
froze. Lending stopped. And businesses large and small didn’t even know
if they’d be able to make payroll. It was a moment the likes of which
few Americans had ever seen.
Today, we know the biggest cause of that crisis was reckless behavior in
the housing market.
Millions of Americans who did the right and responsible thing – who
shopped for a home, secured a mortgage they could afford, and made their
payments on time – were badly hurt by the irresponsible actions of
others. By lenders who sold loans to families who couldn’t afford them –
and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them. By speculators who were
looking to make a quick buck. And by banks that packaged and sold those
risky mortgages for phony profits.
When the party stopped, and the housing bubble burst, it pushed our
entire economy into a historic recession – and left middle-class
families holding the bag.
Four years later, the housing market is healing. Home sales and
construction are up. Prices are beginning to rise. And more than a
million families who began this year owing more on their mortgages than
their homes are worth, are now back above water.
We’re moving in the right direction. But we’re not there yet. There are
still millions of Americans who are struggling with their mortgages,
even at a time of historically low rates.
Now, I know there are some who think that the only option for homeowners
is to just stand by and hope that the market has hit bottom. I don’t
agree with that.
That’s why my Administration teamed up with state attorneys general to
investigate the terrible way many homeowners were treated, and secured a
settlement from the nation’s biggest banks – banks that were bailed out
with taxpayer dollars – to help families stay in their homes.
And that’s why we announced new steps to help responsible homeowners
refinance their mortgages. Already, hundreds of thousands of Americans
who were stuck in high-interest loans have been able to take advantage
of lower rates and save thousands of dollars every year.
That’s not only good for those families; it’s also good for our economy.
When folks are spending less on mortgage payments, they’re spending more
at local businesses. And when those businesses have more customers, they
start hiring more workers.
But we can do even more if Congress is willing to do their part.
in February I sent Congress a plan to give every responsible homeowner
the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing
at lower rates. It’s a plan that has the support of independent,
nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry. But
Republicans in Congress worked to keep it from even getting to a vote.
And here we are – seven months later – still waiting on Congress to act.
This makes no sense. Last week, mortgage rates were at historic lows.
But instead of helping more and more hardworking families take advantage
of those rates, Congress was away on break. Instead of worrying about
you, they’d already gone home to worry about their campaigns.
The truth is, it’s going to take a while for our housing market to fully
recover. But it’s going to take a lot more time – and cause a lot more
hurt – if Congress keeps standing in the way. If you agree with me, I
hope you’ll make your voices heard. Call your Representative. Send them
an email. Show up at their town hall and tell them that when Congress
comes back to Washington, they better come back ready to work. All of
you are doing everything you can to meet your responsibilities. It’s
time Congress did the same. Thanks and have a great weekend.