Presidential Weekly Address - 20 October 2012
THE PRESIDENT: Hi, everybody. In recent weeks, you might have noticed something. Or maybe even heard the sound of it if you live close enough. New homes are going up. In fact, construction workers are breaking ground on new homes in America at the fastest pace in more than four years. At the same time, more homes are being sold. Home values are back on the rise. And foreclosure filings are at their lowest point in the five years since the housing bubble burst and left millions of responsible families holding the bag.
Now, we’re not where we need to be yet. Too many homes are still underwater. Too many families are still having a hard time making the mortgage on their piece of the American Dream. But one of the heaviest drags on our recovery is getting lighter. Now we have to build on the progress we’ve made, and keep moving forward.
I never believed that the best way to deal with the housing market was to just sit back, do nothing, and simply wait for things to hit bottom. That would have been a disaster for all the responsible families who – through no fault of their own – were struggling to make ends meet. Instead, I’ve made helping those homeowners a priority. Since I took office, my Administration has taken action to help millions of families stay in their homes.
We teamed up with attorneys general in almost every state to investigate and crack down on the practices that caused this mess. And in the end, we secured a $25-billion settlement from the biggest banks – one of the biggest settlements in history – and used it to provide relief to families all across America. We’ve taken action to help responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages. As a result, just this year hundreds of thousands of Americans who were stuck in high-interest loans have been able to take advantage of historically low rates and are saving thousands of dollars every year.
And now I want every homeowner in America to have that chance. I just wish it didn’t require an act of Congress. But it does. So, back in February, I sent Congress a plan to give every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low rates. That’s the equivalent of a $3,000 tax cut. It’s a plan that we know will work. It has the support of independent, nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry. It’s a no-brainer that should have passed easily.
But Republicans in Congress banded together and kept this plan from even coming to a vote. They banded together and prevented millions of Americans – including many of you listening today – from saving $3,000 a year. That’s money that could have gone back into the value of your home, or your kid’s college savings account. That’s money that could have gone into your local businesses, so they could hire and create more jobs in your town. But Republicans in Congress still won’t let that happen. And that’s only held back the economy, when we should be doing everything we can to accelerate our economic engine.
Let’s be honest – Republicans in Congress won’t act on this plan before the election. But maybe they’ll come to their senses afterward if you give them a push. So contact your Representative, especially if this plan will help you or someone you know. Tell him or her that American homeowners have waited long enough. Tell them that it’s time for Congress to stop standing in the way of our recovery and to start standing up for you. Thanks and have a great weekend.