|1:43 PM EDT||
Ginny Brown-Waite, R-FL 5th
Ms. GINNY BROWN-WAITE of Florida. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for clarifying the true potential cost of this bill.
Mr. Speaker, today we have to face the fact that many Americans are in a very tough financial position. If I have learned anything over the past year, it is how intricate our financial and economic markets are woven.
As members of the Financial Services Committee, we have been presented and have debated dozens of proposals and ideas to combat this housing crisis before us. Many of them were sound, good ideas worth pursuing.
In the months leading up to today, going around my district I came to several conclusions, but one is that Congress cannot accept the status quo. I have been patient. I believe in the market working itself out, but that just doesn't seem to be happening. At a time when our dollar is devalued, not only is the price of petroleum products, the gas everyone fills up with over $1.70 more than it was a year ago, we also have very high food prices. People are finding it hard to make those payments.
And the beauty of this, it has to be a homeowner who is being helped out, not a speculator, not a flipper.
While Chairman Frank's proposal isn't perfect, I do think it is one that Members should take a very close look at and compare it to what is happening in their districts. It is a voluntary, participatory program. No one is forced to play.
This is not the silver bullet, by any means. Homeowners, lenders and investors will make sacrifices under this.
But I'm also concerned about hearing from constituents who try to work with their lenders, but their lenders won't call them back. I'm tired of driving through the Fifth Congressional District and seeing many houses vacant because of foreclosure. No one wins when a house in the neighborhood is foreclosed, absolutely no one, because it brings down the value of those properties.
No, Mr. Chairman, we cannot stick with the status quo. That's sticking our policy-making heads in the sand. By providing lenders an incentive to write down mortgages, modernizing FHA, improving GSE oversight and including tax incentives, I believe we can help Americans get back into the market and help the housing market to survive.
The bill isn't perfect, and certainly, neither was the process that this bill comes to the floor. And I'm sure that Chairman Frank agrees that the process is murky, at best. But I do believe that what we have before us will provide relief to Americans, and I urge Members to support it.