NPR : News

Obama Hits Romney, GOP Congress On Housing (Without Naming Them)

When President Obama on Wednesday said at an event to promote an administration proposal to help pinched homeowners: "But it is wrong for anybody to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom," he clearly had someone in mind.

Actually, he likely had a few people in his sights, Mitt Romney for one. In Las Vegas last year, the Republican presidential candidate said foreclosures should be allowed to happen to let the housing market clear much of the existing excess real-estate inventory.

The others were congressional Republicans who are likely to block Obama's latest legislative proposal outright. Asked about Obama's plan for the federal government to help certain homeowners gain refinancing, Speaker John Boehner said:

"We've done this at least four times where there's some new government program to help homeowners who have trouble with their mortgages. None of these programs have worked. And I don't know why anyone would think this next idea is going to work. And all they've done is delay the clearing of the market.

"The sooner the market clears and we understand where the prices really are, it will be the most important thing we can do in order to improve home values around the country."

Romney actually did say last year that foreclosures should be allowed to happen. But he also appeared open to the idea of providing refinancing assistance, presumably for homeowners still current on their mortgage payments.

In a meeting with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Journal Review last October, Romney said:

"I think the idea of helping people refinance homes to stay in them is one that's worth further consideration. But I'm not signing on until I find out who;s going to pay and who's going to get bailed out. In that sense, I'm not sure we know all the answers yet."

Obama's remarks on his mortgage-relief proposal came just days before the Nevada caucuses in which Republican voters will state their preferences for GOP presidential nominee.

Nevada, of course, has among the nation's highest foreclosure rates so the timing of Obama's announcement certainly could be interpreted as the White House's way to send voters there the message that a re-elected Obama would be better for Nevada's housing market than the Republican alternative.

The White House issued a fact sheet with details of Obama's proposal which would help homeowners whose mortgages weren't backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That would include some homeowners with mortgages bundled into mortgage securities held by investors.

Obama's proposal would also "streamline" refinancing for those homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-guaranteed mortgages.

It has virtually no chance of being passed by the Republican-controlled House, however, so right now it's little more than a document that will allow the president to make debating points.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation" (Rebroadcast)

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

NPR

We All Scream For Slower Melting Ice Cream

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh are developing an ice cream that takes longer to melt. It's based on a protein that binds fat droplets and air bubbles.
WAMU 88.5

The Influence Of The Latino Vote in 2016

In 2016, an estimated 13.1 million Latino voters are expected to cast a ballot. We look at the growing influence of the Latino vote and who makes up this demographic.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation" (Rebroadcast)

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.