President Obama outlined his plan to offer hundreds of thousands of Americans mortgage relief today, test-driving a new campaign slogan and arguing that “We can’t wait” for Congress to act to jumpstart the economy.
“I’m here to say that we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will,” Obama told the crowd gathered outside the house of Jose and Lissette Bonilla in Las Vegas. Nevada is the state hardest hit by the housing crisis.
Calling the housing bubble “the single greatest cause of the financial crisis and this brutal recession,” Obama promoted his administration’s plan to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.
“There are still millions of Americans who have worked hard and acted responsibly, paying their mortgage payments on time. But now that their homes are worth less than they owe on their mortgage, they can’t get refinancing,” Obama said.
The new rules, announced this morning by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, include removing caps for “underwater” borrowers and cutting the costs of refinancing. “If you meet certain requirements, you will have the chance to refinance at lower rates, which could save you hundreds of dollars a month, and thousands of dollars a year in mortgage payments,” Obama said.
With his jobs plan stalled in Congress, the president plans in the coming weeks to publicize a series of executive actions, such as this one, intended to boost economic growth that don’t need for congressional approval.
“These steps aren’t a substitute for the bold action we need to create jobs and grow the economy, but they’ll make a difference. I’ve told my administration to keep looking every day for actions we can take without waiting for Congress – steps that can save consumers money, make government more efficient and responsive and help heal the economy,” Obama said, explaining his game plan going forward.
“There is no excuse for the games and gridlock we’ve seen in Washington. … Where we don’t have to wait for Congress, we’re just going to go ahead and act on our own,” the president said.