‘Cramdown’ Bill Likely Pushed Back At Least Another Month
The mortgage crisis might have been at the root of the global economic meltdown, but housing legislation seems destined to be among the last things Congress passes to address the downturn.
Legislation allowing struggling homeowners to save their homes through bankruptcy passed the House last week as part of a larger housing package, but the bill has stalled in the Senate, where supporters have yet to secure the 60 votes they need. Indeed, the upper chamber likely won’t get to the housing package until after the Easter recess, according to Regan LaChapelle, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The two-week break pushes the housing debate to the week of April 20th, at the earliest.
That delay is significant. While Wall Street’s credit freeze has been widely blamed for prolonging the recession, many experts are quick to point out that healthy lending can’t resume until the housing market is stabilized. After all, how do you appraise a mortgage when the price of homes continues to fall?
That Congress has treated so many of the symptoms of the crisis before treating its cause (think: two stimulus packages, an automaker rescue and numerous Wall Street bailouts) hasn’t gotten much ink in the press. Then again, it’s a topic not nearly as sexy as Wall Street bonuses.