This was a vote on a motion to recommit (send back) to committee H.R. 1106, a bill designed to prevent mortgage foreclosures and increase the availability of mortgage credit. The motion included instructions that language be added to the bill that would prohibit assistance to any borrower who lied about his/her income on the mortgage application, and to any lender who failed to follow proper underwriting standards. It also included instructions that language be added to prohibit funds from being used as incentives to lenders to rework certain loans unless the President submits a plan that provides “equitable treatment of all mortgage holders.”
The motion was made by Rep. Price (R-GA), who had been leading the Republican opposition to the bill. Price and other Republicans claimed during the debate on the bill that it would punish home buyers “who have lived within their means and acted prudently by forcing them to subsidize those (home buyers) who made irresponsible choices.” Price said the instructions were intended to prevent home owners “who made irresponsible choices” from receiving any federal money to help them deal with their mortgage problems.
Price began his argument in support of the motion by calling the bill under consideration “shortsighted, untimely, unfair, and counterproductive . . . .” Then, referring to the instructions in the motion to recommit, he said that they would remedy a problem with the legislation that “leaves the door open to reward irresponsible actors . . . .”
Rep. Frank (D-MA), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, responded by saying that the language in the instructions to recommit is so broad that it would prevent mortgage assistance from being provided “to any borrower, responsible or not, no matter what the cause. “ Frank also said that Price and the Republicans were opposed to the entire bill because it permitted bankruptcy courts to adjust home mortgages. He then went on to argue that the effect of the motion to recommit with instructions, if successful, “would be (to) cripple the (legislative) effort to reduce mortgage foreclosure . . . (which would) cripple the effort to get out of the economic slump we are in.”
A motion to recommit with instructions is a procedural technique to delay or modify legislation. If successful, it sends the measure back to the committee that developed the bill and orders it to make specified changes before the measure can be returned to the full House for reconsideration.
The motion failed by a vote of 182-242. One hundred and seventy-four Republicans and eight Democrats voted “aye”. All 242 “nay” votes were cast by Democrats. As a result, the House was able to move forward to a vote on passage of a bill designed to prevent mortgage foreclosures and increase the availability of mortgage credit.