RECENT VOTES

Helping Families Save Their Homes

This week the Obama Administration released the details of their housing initiative, the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, which is designed to help homeowners facing foreclosure restructure or refinance their loans. On Thursday the House considered legislation designed to help implement the President's plan: H.R. 1106: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. This legislation helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by giving qualified families the ability to negotiate more affordable mortgages.

Keeping people in their homes helps us all because it will stabilize the housing market and reduce foreclosures, which will help stabilize the value of all of our homes. H.R. 1106 allows bankruptcy judges to reduce the principal of a mortgage to the current market value of the home, reduce interest rates or reduce the fees associated with mortgage debt. These options currently exist for owners of second homes and are simply being applied to one's primary residence.

The legislation establishes principal reduction as a last resort. At least 15 days before filing bankruptcy, the homeowner must first try to contact their lender for a modification, unless foreclosure is scheduled to occur within 30 days of the date filed for bankruptcy. In order to enter bankruptcy, the homeowner's mortgage must be considered unaffordable, rather than simply greater than the home's current value. H.R. 1106 increases the percentage of funds that banks can recover if the borrower later sells the house for a profit. The legislation also permanently increases deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000 for each consumer account at a bank or credit union.

I voted YES: H.R. 1106 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

227

24

0

3

REPUBLICAN

7

167

0

4

TOTAL

234

191

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0