Friday, November 23, 2007

Such Powers

It's really amazing that small groups of Republicans - sometimes as small as one! - have the powers to stop things from happening in the Senate. Wacky.

The House has passed several major housing-relief measures in recent weeks, but the Senate hasn't passed even one. On the eve of its two-week Thanksgiving recess, the House approved by a bipartisan vote the most sweeping reforms of the national mortgage system in more than two decades. Meanwhile, the Senate stalled legislation that would strengthen the Federal Housing Administration's mortgage programs, a key resource for homeowners who need to refinance out of adjustable-rate loans into more affordable fixed-rate ones.


The bill was blocked from a floor vote on Nov. 15 by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) after a hold by Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.). Dole objects to the FHA's plan to begin pricing mortgages based on credit risk starting in January, whether the reform bill is approved or not. Dole is an ally of the private mortgage insurance industry, which would have to compete with a revived FHA in the low-down-payment segment of the mortgage market.