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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.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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