This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation eliminating a federal home loan refinancing program. The underlying bill eliminated a federal program enabling homeowners to refinance their home mortgages if, as a result of plummeting housing prices, their mortgage debt exceeded the value of their home.
Rep. Rob Bishop urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “The program basically tells a lender, ‘Don't worry, it's okay. So what if you knowingly encouraged or lent more than you knew the borrower could afford? We'll bail you out of your predicament so you don't have to feel any of the economic consequences of your actions.’ The program tells borrowers, ‘So what if you took out the maximum loan and got the most expensive house that you could buy even though you knew it was highly unlikely that you would be able to afford those payments in the future. We will bail you out too and insulate you from the consequences of actions as well, and we'll shift all the costs and send the bill, via the FHA, onto the backs of the already overburdened taxpayers.’ That's apparently where the buck stops in this program. It stops on the back of already burdened taxpayers and the nation that itself is $14 trillion underwater in a crushing and unprecedented debt.”
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) opposed the resolution and the underlying bill: “The bill we have before us today would be harmful to middle class families who are struggling to stay in their homes. Middle class Americans hurt by this bill are exactly the people we should be protecting in this Congress as we start to build a stronger and more stable economic future for our country. Instead, we saw that this House has raised their taxes with the passage of H.R. 4, and now the Republicans are threatening to remove working families from their homes….We do all agree that this nation needs to get its fiscal house in order and resolve the housing crisis. But this bill, an outright repeal of the FHA program, is not the right approach. A strong rebound in the housing market is critical to our economic recovery, creating jobs and ensuring that our banks remain stable.”
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 240-180. All 231 Republicans present and 9 Democrats voted “yea.” 180 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation eliminating a federal program that enabled homeowners to refinance their home mortgages if, as a result of plummeting housing prices, their mortgage debt exceeded the value of their home.