Senate caves to bankers, passes up chance to help U.S. homeowners
by Margie Burns
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The U.S. Senate could have stepped up to the plate yesterday and passed an amendment to help bankruptcy judges help homeowners. Instead, twelve Democrats joined all the Republicans in the Senate--including those two supposed 'moderates' from Maine that we hear so much about--to defeat the amendment.
The amendment to Senate bill 896, called the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 and introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), would have facilitated renegotiation in foreclosures by bankruptcy judges. It was proposed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)--and if only Durbin had been stronger in protecting the rule of law in reaction to that stunt arrest of Gov. Blagojevich, he, other Dems in Congress, and some necessary presidential initiatives would be in a stronger position now. For one thing, they would have an excellent senator in Danny Davis, a gracious and intelligent man. But that's water under the bridge--exc that poor Illinoisians are now stuck with a US Attorney who is not only a Giuliani-Bush holdover but also has a track record of accepting benefits from people he has benefited.
More on that later.
For now, the fate of any legislation, any legislation at all, that would benefit the housing sector and would help deserving people who are losing their houses for reasons beyond their control is an immediate concern.
It is staggering that more of our corporate media outlets do not recognize the housing situation as the impending emergency that it truly is--staggering even in view of the many instances of short-sightedness demonstrated by large media outlets in the past.
Obviously the media personnel who appear on the airwaves to discuss these matters, in so far as they discuss them, do not face foreclosure themselves, and remoteness affects anyone's perspective. Even so, there is a certain blandness, media-wise, about our impending waves of foreclosures that is an all but breathtaking spectacle of obliviousness.
Of the twelve Democrats who joined--once again--all Republican senators in defeating an amendment ardently opposed by the banking industry, only four are members of Class III, up for reelection in 2010. They are Michael F. Bennet of CO, Byron L. Dorgan of ND, Blanche L. Lincoln of AR, and brand-new or returned Dem Arlen Specter of PA.