3:34 PM EDT
David Wu, D-OR 1st

Mr. WU. Mr. Speaker, last year 1.5 million American households entered foreclosure, and this year the number of American families in danger of losing their homes could be as high as 2 million. These foreclosures could reduce overall economic activity by $166 billion this year as the effects of the mortgage crisis spill over into other sectors of the economy.

In my State of Oregon, the foreclosure rate among subprime borrowers increased by 28 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. Over 5,000 Oregon families are currently in foreclosure, more than half of whom hold subprime mortgages.

But this debate is not about facts and statistics. If it were, it would be over by now. By requiring that the holders of debt take a haircut down to 85 percent of current market value, we are [Page: H3304]

sharing the pain. By requiring that people who are working in order to be eligible for this program are paying at least 35 percent of their income in order to be eligible, we are exercising responsibility.

What this debate is really about is a matter of values. The values being expounded on the other side of this debate are absolutely astounding, and nothing illustrates it better than a movie I love, ``It's a Wonderful Life.'' George Bailey was the hero of that movie, and he was dealing with a hard-hearted old man named Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter said to George Bailey as he was trying to save American households, ``Have you put any real pressure on these people to pay their mortgages?''

And George Bailey relied, ``Times are bad, Mr. Potter. A lot of these people are out of work.''

``Then foreclose.''

George Bailey answers, ``I can't do that. These families have children.''

``Not my children,'' said Mr. Potter.

Well, what we hear from the other side is: not my children, these folks are irresponsible, throw them out.

We clearly have the upper hand in this debate.