WASHINGTON (5/6/08)--Two housing bills aimed at helping troubled borrowers refinance their mortgages are expected to hit the House floor this week. The House goal is to approve its bills in plenty of time to go to conference with the Senate before Memorial Day, according to Ryan Donovan, Credit Union National Association vice president of legislative affairs. Because there are differences between proposed House and Senate legislation, the differences would have to be worked out through a conference committee before the bills could receive final approval and be sent to the White House for the President’s signature. One of the bills headed for House action is H.R. 5818, the Neighborhood Stabilization Act. Introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the bill would provide states and cities with funds to help prevent rising foreclosures in neighborhoods. The second measure would combine:
* H.R. 5720, the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008; * H.R. 5830, the Federal Housing Administration Housing (FHA) and Homeowner Retention Act; * H.R. 1852, the Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007; * H.R. 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007; and * H.R. 5579, the Emergency Mortgage Loan Modification Act of 2008.
H.R. 1852 and H.R. 1724 passed the House and H.R. 5579 passed through the House Financial Services Committee April 23. H.R. 1427 deals with government-sponsored enterprises reform, H.R. 1852 deals with FHA reform and H.R. 5579 would provide a legal safe harbor for lenders who modify loan terms for mortgages that have been securitized. H.R. 5720 would give first-time home buyers help making a down payment on a home by giving them a refundable tax credit equal to an interest-free loan to 10% of the home purchase price. H.R. 5830, introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), would expand the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s program to help at-risk borrowers refinance into more affordable mortgages. The measure was approved by Frank’s committee Thursday.