2:04 PM EDT
Tom Feeney, R-FL 24th

Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Texas, and I would say that people in my district, there are some people who are hurting right about now as there are around the country. There are some people, indeed, who are homeowners in very bad shape. Some, for example, were duped or lied to by people that loaned them money. Some, a few, have lost their jobs. Some bought homes at the high of the housing market, say $150,000, now to find that their house is more like $120,000 or $100,000. And

we all feel very sympathetic for those people.

But I don't feel too terribly bad for speculators that went in search of ways to get higher returns and take higher risks as an exchange, and that's who is getting bailed out today. I also don't have complete sympathy when it comes to using taxpayer money to reimburse people that, for example, put zero money down. They didn't buy that home. They bought an option to buy the home. People that bought into a 3-percent teaser rate knowing that if the interest rate went to 7 percent, they would never

be able to stay in that home. People that used no documentation to demonstrate that they ever had the chance to repay. They moved into a home with an option to continue buying it. They didn't make the type of commitment that most homeowners do [Page: H3293]

to put 10 or 20 or 30 percent down and to make sure that they have a mortgage and a loan that they can pay under virtually any circumstance except for a disaster.

Who does this bill help? Well, The Wall Street Journal made it very clear who this bill helps. This bill is a bailout from American taxpayers of speculators and imprudent borrowers. Less than 1 percent of borrowers whose homes, under this bill, would be eligible when all is said and done to be helped.

I come today to speak on behalf of the forgotten man. And that includes some 50 percent of Americans that either own their home or are renting. Every one of them watching today needs to know that they are bailing out irresponsible speculators and lenders and they will pay the price of this bill. I come here to speak for the 90-plus, 95 percent of homeowners that are making their payments on time, that took out responsible loans. They need to know that they are bailing out irresponsible speculators

and people that went in search of higher profits.

Investors who take advantage of this program are basically getting a guaranteed gift from the government: 85 percent of a loan that they know is not likely to perform. We are bailing out people that will cherry-pick the very worst loans in their portfolio.

Who is here speaking on behalf of the forgotten man? Who is here speaking on behalf of 99 percent of Americans that did not behave irresponsibly, that did not behave foolishly, that ultimately will pay the price for this bill? Well, some of us in the minority are here speaking on behalf of the forgotten man, which is 99 percent of America.

And I would leave you with this: Chairman Frank and the CBO and others can estimate how much this bill will cost these forgotten men and women, 99 percent of Americans who were not irresponsible who will pay the price. The answer is we don't know. We don't have a crystal ball. If property prices around the country take off by another 50 percent and go up, there will be no cost. If they go down by 30 percent, the cost will be closer to $3 billion.