This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have enabled seniors to continue to benefit from a federal home loan refinancing program. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion was offered to legislation eliminating a 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. The motion to recommit would have allowed this program to continue exclusively for homeowners who were 62 years of age or older, as opposed to terminating it for everyone (as the underlying bill called for).
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) urged support for the motion to recommit: “The contributions of the men and women who became known as America's greatest generation should humble us all. As teenagers, …they confronted unspeakable evil and endured incredible sacrifices during World War II. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, their love of country and commitment to hard work created the world's most vibrant economy…. Today, they are seniors who deserve to live their retirement years with dignity and self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, throughout the financial crisis and this devastating recession, seniors have often gone forgotten….their homes, often their last standing pillar of equity and economic security, have lost their value through no fault of their own….What we have the opportunity to do here today is to give our seniors a chance--a chance--to rearrange their deal with their lenders, make their payments, and keep their homes.”
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) opposed this motion to recommit: “You know, I just came back from my district in Staten Island and Brooklyn, and I visited several senior centers. And I'll tell you, the seniors are nervous, they're worried. You know what their number one fear is? Their number one fear is that their children and grandchildren will not have the opportunities that they had. I heard countless story after story that their children are out of work….This program is broken, and to think that somehow suddenly--miraculously--it's going to work for seniors is outrageous. And I have to tell you, I cannot, in good conscience, go back to my district, go back to those senior centers, look those seniors in the eye and tell them that I supported another failed program because someone stood up and said, well, it's for seniors. You can label it any way you want, you can put anything you want on this, but at the end of the day it's a failed program.”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 185-243. Voting “yea” were 185 Democrats. All 239 Republicans present and 4 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have enabled seniors to continue to benefit from a home loan refinancing program which helped homeowners to refinance their home mortgages if, as a result of plummeting housing prices, their mortgage debt exceeded the value of their home.