Entries in Housing Program (2)


Obama Administration Threatens to Veto Bill to End HAMP Housing Program  

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama would be urged to veto the House Republican bill that would kill his administration's underperforming housing assistance program and replace it with a new program, a statement from the Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday afternoon.

"The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 839, which would eliminate the Department of the Treasury's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)," read a statement of administration policy issued Tuesday afternoon. "As tens of thousands of responsible American homeowners struggling with their mortgages receive permanent assistance each month from HAMP, the Administration believes that continuation of HAMP is important to the Nation's sustained economic recovery. If the President is presented with H.R. 839, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

In February 2009, President Obama said HAMP would help 3 or 4 million American renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. Two years later, the program has permanently renegotiated the loans of approximately 540,000 Americans. Approximately 1.5 million Americans have received temporary modifications -- but more than 800,000 of them have been cancelled.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., recently called HAMP "an arbitrary, capricious system that kicks hard-working people out on the street. The administration cannot allow this to continue."

Earlier this month, Neil Barofsky, then the inspector general of TARP program, testified before Congress that HAMP was "clearly a failure," saying there is "basically universal and bipartisan agreement that the HAMP program is failing to meet TARP's goal of preserving homeownership."

But, Barofsky said, "Secretary Geithner continues to celebrate the status quo…Treasury stands alone in its defense."

Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Congress that ending the HAMP program "would cause a huge amount of damage" because the housing market is in such a fragile state. "I would recommend against it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Obama Administration Fights To Save Embattled Housing Program

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- In the spring of 2009, the Obama administration unveiled a program that they said would help three to four million struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure, but to date the plan has fallen so far short that non-partisan government watchdogs are blasting it and House Republicans are trying to do away with it altogether.

The Home Affordable Modification Program -- known as HAMP -- has only helped around 540,000 borrowers receive permanent loan modifications to enable them to stay in their homes. By comparison, more than 800,000 homeowners have dropped out of the program.

On Capitol Hill, the program has become a lightning rod for criticism. On Wednesday, a government watchdog ripped the plan before a House subcommittee. 

Neil Barofsky, the outgoing Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP), said the program “continues to fall woefully short of meeting its original expectations” and there is now “near-universal agreement that the program has failed.”

That will only be fuel for the fire of House Republicans, who have unveiled a bill to end the program before it expires at the end of next year, contending that it is wasting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.

While Treasury has acknowledged that the program will not meet its stated goal of keeping three to four million homeowners in their homes, they have argued that is still helping some 25,000 to 30,000 borrowers every month, so getting rid of it would hurt the housing market.

But that may not be enough to stop Republicans from pulling the plug on it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio