Four years after the economic crisis threatened to destroy the American economy, the president is urging Republican lawmakers to help homeowners who were unfairly disadvantaged by the housing crisis at the heart of the recession.
“We know the biggest cause of that crisis was reckless behavior in the housing market,” the president said in his weekly address. “Millions of Americans who did the right and responsible thing – who shopped for a home, secured a mortgage they could afford, and made their payments on time – were badly hurt by the irresponsible actions of others.”
As his first term nears a close, the president boasted, “We’re moving in the right direction.”
“Home sales and construction are up. Prices are beginning to rise. And more than a million families who began this year owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth are now back above water,” he said.
In an election-year appeal to middle-class voters, the president touted his administration’s efforts to revive the housing industry and help responsible homeowners.
“Now, there are some who think that the only option for homeowners is to just stand by and hope that the market has hit bottom. I don’t agree with that,” he said in a not-so-subtle jab at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“But we can do even more if Congress is willing to do their part,” Obama said.
He urged lawmakers to act on his plan to help homeowners refinance at lower rates.
“It’s a plan that has the support of independent, nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry,” Obama said. “But Republicans in Congress worked to keep it from even getting to a vote. And here we are – seven months later – still waiting on Congress to act. … This makes no sense. Last week, mortgage rates were at historic lows. But instead of helping more and more hardworking families take advantage of those rates, Congress was away on break. Instead of worrying about you, they’d already gone home to worry about their campaigns.”
The president admitted “it’s going to take a while for our housing market to fully recover,” but said it would take longer “if Congress keeps standing in the way.”