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Senate finalizing housing market help

Jeremy Hobson Apr 3, 2008


Scott Jagow: The Senate has moved quickly to come up with a plan for giving the housing market a jolt. Senators begin debating a $15 billion package this morning. It has things in it like:
Tax credits for people who buy new or foreclosed homes. Money for local governments to buy foreclosed properties.
Tax breaks for home builders. But there’s still a fear that many more people will lose homes or just bail out of their mortgages. Jeremy Hobson has more.

Jeremy Hobson: There’s money for mortgage counseling to try and keep people from losing their homes. There’s a plan to modernize the Federal Housing Administration by allowing it to insure bigger loans. But not everyone is clinking Champagne glasses.

Jim Carr of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition says the deal doesn’t go far enough.

Jim Carr: You would think that having already experienced over a million foreclosures last year, we were there. But, you know, evidently we’re not there yet.

Missing from the plan, Carr says, is a proposal giving bankruptcy judges authority to adjust mortgages.
But Andrew Jakabovics of the Center for American Progress says Congress was right to act fast.

Andrew Jakabovics: Inevitably, something needed to get done. Best that it be done sort of in the shorter term rather than the longer term, because the longer we wait, the longer house prices are going to decline and the greater the risk of over-correction.

Final passage of the Senate bill could come by the end of the week.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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