12:46 PM EDT
Allyson Y. Schwartz, D-PA 13th

Ms. SCHWARTZ. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Rangel and Chairman Frank for acting so swiftly and wisely to stem the tide of foreclosures and address the sagging home values that are hurting families and communities across our Nation.

By addressing a whole range of issues, from the continuing foreclosure [Page: H3285]

crisis to the new and existing homes that are sitting vacant and further depressing the housing market, this package represents a significant step toward stabilizing the economy and restoring consumer confidence.

I am very proud of the portion of this package that came through the Committee on Ways and Means, particularly a timely, targeted, and well-designed first-time homebuyers credit; a new Federal tax deduction to help families meet rising State property taxes; and expansion of the ability of cities and States to raise capital for infrastructure improvements by partnering with the Federal Home Loan Banks.

In particular, I am pleased that the package includes a provision that I championed, along with my Republican colleague Jon Porter, which would enable State housing finance agencies to raise capital through tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds and use these additional funds to help at-risk borrowers refinance their subprime loans, access mortgages at fair rates, and enable families to meet their financial obligations and stay in their homes. This provision will work hand in hand with the

Federal Housing Agency reforms that have come out of Chairman Frank's committee and will allow States to play a role in addressing the needs of their local communities.

As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put it, `` ..... doing what we can to avoid preventable foreclosures is not just in the interest of lenders and borrowers, it is in everyone's interest.''

It is in everyone's interest that we overcome this crisis in the housing market, that we work to stabilize the economy, and we work to maintain and build our competitive edge in the global economy. The proposal before us is a comprehensive approach to this challenge, and I hope that it will be supported by all.