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Congressman Barrett Delivers Floor Speech on Housing Bill

July 24, 2008
Congressman Barrett Delivers Floor Speech on Housing Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Gresham Barrett (SC, 03) gave the following speech on the House floor today expressing concerns with H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, which will be voted on today in the House of Representatives.
“I thank the gentleman for yielding. Sometimes like many of my colleagues, I get frustrated about the pace of Congress. For the past several weeks, I’ve come down the floor almost every day to talk about energy problems and why Congress doesn’t seem to want to do anything to fix the problem.
“That’s why I’m amazed, all of a sudden, that Congress seems to be moving at warp speed to pass an ill-advised bill that could cost the taxpayer billions of dollars and change the nature of our financial system.
“First let me say, I appreciate the intentions of this bill, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the government should take targeted steps to help those facing foreclosure in those neighborhoods that have had problems with negative affects of multiple foreclosures. But we should not legislate in a rush and we should not use a potential crisis as an excuse to expand the size of government in an unprecedented manner.
“Please understand, I agree that we cannot allow Fannie and Freddie to fail, and we must closely monitor the health of the banking system. Still, decisions of this magnitude should be considered calmly, rationally and independently. Let’s not mortgage the future of our country without fully understanding all the implications.
“Timing’s not the only problem with this legislation, Mr. Speaker. As I’ve said before, I feel that we’ll be feeling the lingering effects of this legislation for maybe years. In one part of this bill we’re creating a new FHA program that will distort housing prices by neglecting the realities of supply and demand in housing while putting taxpayers on the hook for this expensive and, I think, dangerous experiment.
“Like many of my colleagues, I do not think we should allow the American taxpayers to become the insurance policy for financial decisions that did not quite turn out as planned.
“There are other parts of the bill that just don’t make much sense at first glance. For example, the new affordable housing trust fund that’s funded by the income of Fannie and Freddie. At the same time, we’re trying to stabilize them elsewhere in the bill, we’re adding new burdens and raising their costs. While I appreciate the importance of the affordable housing, I don’tthink this makes much financial sense.
“Like much of what Congress has been doing this year, this affordable housing trust fund is taxing what we’re trying to help. We’re trying to help people buy and keep their homes, yet, we’re discussing about raising their taxes.
“Rather than increasing the size of government, perhaps we should be putting more money into the pockets of hardworking Americans so they can afford to keep their homes.
“While we certainly should be ensuring that the G.S.E.’s are stable, I’m concerned about the long-term effects that this bill will have on the health of the housing market, federal balance sheet and the American economy, Mr. Speaker. Because I do not think this legislation will provide helpful solutions to our housing market, I oppose this bill and ask my colleagues to do the same. I yield back,” said Congressman Gresham Barrett.
One Comment leave one →
  1. Gillon permalink
    July 26, 2008 3:10 pm

    Why is it that Congressman Barrett is in favor of spending billions of dollars a year to support and continue a war in Iraq that was unnecessary and is unwinnable , but yet balks at supporting a bill that will help unfortunate Americans. I always thought that charity began at home. If saving the taxpayer money and/or reducing the size of government are your objectives, you might start with opposing the Iraq War, which has done both.

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