Barney Frank’s Statement Regarding President Obama’s Plan to Improve the Housing Market
WASHINGTON – Congressman Barney Frank today released the following statement about President Obama’s plan to help homeowners and to hasten recovery in the housing market.
Congressman Barney Frank today released the following statement about President Obama’s plan to help homeowners and to hasten recovery in the housing market.
The administration’s comprehensive plan for dealing with the housing crisis is very important from both an economic and a social standpoint.
Economically, alleviating the current situation in which so many Americans are in distressed conditions regarding their homes is essential to completing a recovery from the terrible recession that this administration inherited. While there are important social reasons for helping many hardworking people who find themselves in mortgage difficulties through no fault of their own, the primary reason for acting from a national standpoint is that the housing situation – a hangover from poor policies earlier in this century – is the single biggest obstacle we face to a vigorous recovery, which is clearly within reach if appropriate policies are adopted.
Socially, while it is true that there are people who were irresponsible in taking out mortgage loans and that we should be careful not to unjustly enrich these individuals, many of the people facing difficulty are the victims of unfair housing or unfair lending practices, prolonged unemployment, or a drop in property values caused by these factors in combination.
I strongly hope that the banks and other financial institutions that have been the beneficiaries of federal assistance will adopt a more cooperative attitude in following the President’s proposals, not simply because of their obligation to be responsible in light of the help they have received themselves, but also in their own self-interests, since they will not prosper in an economy that continues to fall short of our full potential for recovery.
It is also important that the Federal Housing Finance Administration join this effort to improve our economy and not put its own very specific financial interests ahead of that overarching goal.
The President’s plan to fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is particularly important. Congress established the program several years ago, but we have been unable to fund it until now. In the future, we must prevent the practice of mortgage loans being made to people who should not have received them, both for the sake of those people, and in the interests of the country as a whole. And one of the most important ways to alleviate the pressure for imprudent mortgage lending is to provide decent affordable rental housing for people of limited income. This does not mean that low-income people should not be given a chance to own homes, but it does recognize that for the great majority of people in this category, well-constructed rental housing is the best approach. This is especially the case now that a large inventory of vacant properties is available for this purpose.
I will be urging my House colleagues on the Financial Services Committee to act promptly on those pieces of the President’s program that require legislative approval. I do not see how anyone who desires a full economic recovery can obstruct the adoption of housing policies that will forward that goal.