The House of Representatives approved H.R. 1106, legislation that will allow for mortgage modification in chapter 13 bankruptcy. The vote was 234-191, with seven Republicans breaking party ranks and supporting the bill, and 24 Democrats voting against the measure. It is now on to the Senate, where the bill may be considered as early as next week!
NACBA first went to Congress nearly two years ago seeking this relief for homeowners facing foreclosure. In the intervening time, we built a large and diverse coalition supporting this effort, including housing, civil rights, community and consumer groups, as we well as state and local elected officials, labor unions and others. Top economists supported the proposal, and President Obama included it as a key element in his housing recovery package unveiled late in February.
There have been supportive editorials around the country and other public expressions of support. Indeed, NACBA’s efforts to get this legislation passed were noted in a press release issued yesterday by one of the key House champions, Rep. Brad Miller (D, NC), who said:
“I also congratulate the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. They have been at the forefront of efforts to mitigate the foreclosure crisis from the outset; they were working on solutions back in early 2007, when many were still denying there was even a problem. It’s no exaggeration to say that without their tireless efforts, we might not be where we are today.”
We can savor our victory for a few short hours before we turn our attention to the Senate. You may recall that efforts by Senator Durbin (D, IL) to push this legislation forward nearly a year ago were unsuccessful. So, we have our work cut out for us. We will be updating the call center and email functionality to focus exclusively on the Senate.
We will be writing to you again on Monday morning reminding on how you can make your voice, and that of colleagues, family and friends heard in the Senate. In the meantime, we encourage you to see how your Member of Congress voted by going to http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll104.xml. If your Member supported H.R. 1106, you should think about putting in a quick phone call or fax a letter thanking him or her for standing up for homeowners. Members were under intense pressure from banks, securities firms, credit unions and community banks to oppose this legislation. It is nice for them to hear a thank you.
And, in closing, a big THANK YOU to the many, many NACBA members who took time out of what I know are busy days to reach out to your Member of Congress in support of the bill. We aren’t there yet, but we are confident that with all of us working together, we will be successful and we will watch President Obama sign bankruptcy mortgage modification into law sometime soon!