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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Bush Will Veto Housing-Relief Bill

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President Bush made it clear today that if the current housing-relief bill, championed by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), reaches his desk, he will veto it. He told Democratic leaders not to bother, even before voting began on it.

Bush made his feelings clear at the White House today and after meeting with Republican House leaders that, “I will veto the bill that’s moving through the House today if it makes it to my desk [. . .] I urge members on both sides of the aisle to focus on a good piece of legislation that is being sponsored by Republican members.” Again, our president proves why a two party system can be detrimental to political progress (particularly in a situation as dire as the housing crash), because he is inexorable when it comes to siding or rationally listening to the opposing party (this has been a growing and unfortunate trend over the last seven years on both sides of the aisle). 

Bush wants a limited expansion of federally insured mortgages, in contrast to lenders reducing principal balances for borrowers at risk of default as Frank’s bill proposes, and has argued that housing relief can be accomplished by the FHA without new legislation (because it’s been working so well since he initiated his FHA plan last August). He also claimed “Mission Accomplished” on an aircraft carrier five years ago (via a strategically placed banner), after less than 60 days at “war” with Iraq. I don’t know if his assessments are always the best or the most erudite.

It is likely that there will be no housing and mortgage resolution before Bush leaves office and that is troubling. This belief is confirmed by House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, “President Bush has a plan to sit on his hands for nine more months,” (The New York Times, 5/7/08).

I hope our government, Democrats and Republicans, can come to a reasonable agreement and pass some type of legislation that helps prevent this housing and mortgage quagmire from getting worse, instead of the current plan which is to sit back, hold tight, and hope this problem corrects itself after a few or several turbulent bumps. The latter “Bush” plan makes a flight on the Soviet Union’s “Concordski” look appealing.