On January 25th, Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-36) spoke out for immediate need for action to help homeowners. The press conference was held by California House Democrats who asked for a meeting with President Obama to discuss plans to move forward.
Thank you Representative Lofgren. It’s great to be here with my California delegation. Everything’s been said but hasn’t been said by everybody yet.
'Cause every week my constituents also call my office, and they’re looking for help with their homes. They’re the same people I think the president spoke about last night. Hard-working Americans who play by the rules and just want the opportunity to own a home and raise a family. But time and time again, I’ve heard personally that this dream has turned into a nightmare. Some have lost their homes, some are in the process of foreclosure, and many, many more are so far underwater they can’t see how they will be able to ever swim to the top. And even when the opportunity has been available to refinance or renegotiate with the banks, homeowners have faced delays and obstruction.
Just before Christmas, I personally sent a letter to some of the biggest lenders in my district asking each of them to do what was right. I wanted to be clear, and I wanted to be clear today. Any obstinancy, obstruction, or delay by these banks is absolutely unacceptable and morally wrong.
Last night the president spoke passionately about creating an economy that works for everyone. The president said millions of Americans work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same. The housing crisis demonstrated that Wall Street and mortgage companies weren’t playing by the rules. Then when the deal went bad they got bailed out by the same taxpayers they profited off of, and that’s why I am also concerned about this settlement. I think there’s a lot of people in this country, I think there’s Californians who believe that this crisis they are in was caused by some greedy Wall Street bankers and some immoral mortgage companies, and they want some people to pay and even go to jail.
I agree with the president that there is s a deficit of trust between banks and homeowners, and I agree the rules must be enforced and new rules past to make sure that this never happens again, and I like the fact that there’s a new task force the president’s talking about to investigate abusive practices. However, talk is all homeowners have heard for a very long time. This administration and this congress should take immediate and significant action to help them, and that means making sure that we have some form of immediate principal write down.
You know, when I was on the city council in Los Angeles when this started I began to call for principal write down. I thought that was the one fair and immediate action that could help millions of homeowners in this country. And I also think it means passing a Homeowner’s Bill of Rights that makes buying and refinancing a home easy to understand and transparent, and I think that also means giving homeowners someone other than the banks to appeal to if they have not been treated fairly. So let’s do the right thing as soon as possible. Thanks.