Senate GOP Stymies Dem Housing Relief

Republicans say plan to aid homeowners would inflame crisis, hurt lenders
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 8:51 AM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., left, accompanied by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., center, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., gestures during a news conference on the housing crisis, Thursday, Feb....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Capping a week of gridlock, GOP senators yesterday blocked consideration of a Democratic-backed housing-relief bill. The mortgage industry had fought hard against the proposal, which would allow judges to slash interest rates for low-income homeowners facing bankruptcy, the Washington Post reports. The bill also included billions of dollars for local communities to buy up subprime mortgages.

GOP critics charged the bill would decimate the housing market, and President Bush called on Congress to give this month's $168B stimulus package a "chance to kick in" before considering other measures. Sen. Richard Durbin, retorting that Bush's remarks come "straight out of the Herbert Hoover playbook," called the issue a choice between mortgage bankers and families facing foreclosure.