FHA Bill — Delayed or Dead?

by Peter G. Miller
June 30th, 2008

FHA legislation approved by both houses of Congress will not be finalized before the July 4th recess. This means it will take several weeks to come up with compromise legislation — if there is ultimately to be any legislation at all.

The delay results from an effort in the Senate created by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV). Sen Ensign wants the housing bill to also include extensions for renewable energy tax breaks. Since the energy issue has nothing to do with FHA reform, the Senate majority opposes putting it in the bill.

The Ensign hold would not be an issue if there was more time, but time has run out because of the July 4th recess. Once the Congress returns, the bill will again be on the front burner.

Can the bill pass the Senate in mid-July? The legislation went through the Senate on a vote of 83-9, enough to sail past a threaten veto by the Bush Administration. It is supported by both Democrats and Republicans, though all nine votes in opposition were Republican.

Why will the bill get past the Senate once the recess is over? Between now and mid-July you can expect that roughly 8,500 families will get foreclosure notices of some type. That’s not a total of 8,500 homeowners, that’s about the number PER DAY who will hear from lenders.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ensign will surely have a great time over the holiday break back in Nevada.

His home state, according to a news release issued June 13th by RealtyTrac.com, leads the country in foreclosures: “With one in every 118 households receiving a foreclosure filing in May, Nevada posted the highest state foreclosure rate for the 17th consecutive month. Foreclosure filings were reported on a total of 9,009 Nevada properties, an increase of nearly 24 percent from the previous month and a 72 percent increase from May 2007.”

No doubt the growing number of foreclosed, evicted, and homeless people in Nevada will support Sen. Ensign’s view that now is the perfect time to delay a housing relief measure….

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