12:38 PM EDT
Sander Levin, D-MI 12th

Mr. LEVIN. I rise in strong support.

There has been some bipartisanship that has motored this legislation, and I hope it won't break down today.

The crisis in housing needs the attention and the support of everybody. It needs much more than tea and sympathy, it needs legislation. Recently I met with mayors and managers from the 12th District, in Macomb County and southeast Oakland. And they all talked about the plight of the homeowner, the plight of the communities when houses are shut down. We have to act. And I pay tribute, all of us should, to the Committee on Financial Services.

And let me say just a word about the tax provisions. They would provide credit to first-time homebuyers. Essential. It would improve access to low-income housing. Essential. It would allow families to deduct property taxes through the standard deduction. It's a good experiment. It should have been done earlier. And it also would allow Federal home loan banks to help relieve pressure on credit markets.

I read the Statement of Administrative Policy that said it was risky and it was an expansion of the purpose of the banks, and I think it's incorrect in both respects. So I just want to close with the sense of urgency that I think all of us feel. Mr. Bernanke said that if markets were simply allowed to follow their own course, it could ``destabilize communities, reduce the property values of nearby homes and lower municipal tax revenues.''

What more do we need to impel us to act than the flight of families, the plight of communities, and the plight of municipalities? Let's vote on a bipartisan bill. Let's vote for this bill.