WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is pleased Senate leadership came together today to work on a bipartisan piece of legislation to improve the overall health of the housing industry.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed upon a deal this afternoon to allow Republicans to offer amendments on the Democrats’ Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008. Now, Senate leaders will work together to put together a bipartisan bill for the full Senate to consider this week.
“I do not support a bailout of our housing industry – period. Throwing money at the housing problem will not solve it,” Enzi said. “The way it’s written now, the Democrats’ housing stimulus bill would reward subprime investors at the expense of taxpayers who avoided hedging their bets on the risky subprime mortgages. The federal government should not bail out unsound investments and the actors who made them.”
Enzi has not supported the Foreclosure Prevention Act up to this point because it contains a controversial provision to allow bankruptcy judges the ability to restructure loan terms on subprime mortgages amongst other quick-fix measures. He voted to move forward with discussion of the act today now that Republicans will have the opportunity to balance out the bill.
Instead of the Democrats’ Foreclosure Prevention Act, Enzi put his weight behind the Republicans’ alternative housing bill, the Home Ownership, Manufacturing, and Economic Growth (HOME) Act. He signed on to the legislation as an original co-sponsor and hopes that the agreed-upon Dodd and Shelby bill will include provisions from the HOME legislation.
“The best way to get our housing market running at full speed again is to provide tax incentives for homeownership and encourage refinancing for families already in high-cost mortgages. The provisions in the HOME Act do just that,” Enzi said. “I hope that in developing the new bill, Senate leaders will include these time-tested economic principles. Markets don’t turn around overnight. The health of the housing market cannot be restored solely through cash injections.”
Enzi supports the HOME bill provisions that include making permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for individuals, families and small businesses, and providing a $15,000 tax credit for individuals and families buying a foreclosed or vacant house. Enzi also supports raising the cap on federal tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds by $10 billion, which are used for refinancing subprime loans.