Washington Babylon — May 1, 2009, 12:13 pm

Congress Stiffs Troubled Mortgage Holders

With swine flu, the retirement of David Souter, and the bankruptcy of Chrysler, the media didn’t devote much space to the Senate screwing nearly two million mortgage holders yesterday. The Washington Post offered only a business brief about it in today’s paper:

Legislation that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages died in the Senate yesterday, handing the Obama administration a significant defeat in its plans to mitigate the foreclosure crisis.

Supporters argued that the measure would have kept 1.7 million borrowers in their homes. It foundered in the face of fierce opposition from the financial industry and Republicans. The legislation, offered as an amendment to a broader housing bill, failed by a vote of 45 to 51.

The measure would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify troubled mortgages, lowering the interest rate or principal balance through a process known as a cramdown.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) had negotiated with Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo for weeks, hoping their support would bridge the gap. However, even after the proposal was weakened significantly, the financial services industry refused to support it.

Incidentally, 12 Democrats joined with Republicans to kill the measure. “Democrats who received large contributions from the mortgage banking industry and opposed the cram-down amendment included Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana with $25,400, Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota with $23,500 and Sen. Max Baucus of Montana with $18,000,” the Washington Times reported.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us if You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us if You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today