1:03 PM EDT
Peter Welch, D-VT

Mr. WELCH of Vermont. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation. The legislation does two things that are good and one thing that is very good in its absence. The two things that are good are one, it addresses very specifically, in a practical way, the housing crisis that has been brought on by the subprime foreclosure debacle.

What it does is it shares the opportunity of relief and it shares the pain of getting the relief so that we can end up at the end of the day with several hundred thousand American families still in their homes, lenders having been able to mitigate their loss, homeowners being able to keep a roof over their head, and the American taxpayer not being left on the hook.

It does it by recognizing we have to use existing institutions to accomplish that. It does it by acknowledging that it has to be voluntary. A lender will be in this program only when they make the practical business decision that it is a better route than foreclosure. A borrower is going to be able to make that same change and has to be able to demonstrate an ability to pay at the new current appraisal value of that property. And in the process of doing that, it means that we use the guaranty

of the taxpayer, but in all likelihood, according to the CBO score, not the money of the taxpayer.

So it is a practical solution to a very severe problem that could only have been brought to this House for consideration with the extraordinary cooperation of both sides in the Ways and Means Committee, the Financial Services Committee, and the help of high administration officials who had significant input along the way.

And it would be very unfortunate if the procedural debates that we are having about process, made at the leadership level, derail what is a practical approach to solving a very serious problem. What this bill isn't, and I congratulate the Members on both sides as well, it is not a blame game about who caused this. That is for another day.