Weekly Addresses: Obama Wants Mortgage Reforms, Sen. Tim Scott Blasts White House Energy Policies

Aug 10, 2013 11:45am

President Obama called for greater access to low mortgage rates, while Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., blasted the president’s energy policies, in the weekly White House and Republican radio/YouTube addresses on Saturday.

Obama touted improvements in the housing market and called on Congress to make it easier for Americans to buy homes and for homeowners to refinance at lower rates.

“While we’re not where we need to be yet, our housing market is beginning to heal,” Obama said. “Now we have to build on this progress.”

It’s time to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the president said, repeating a point he’s made on the stump during his recent series of economic speeches.

Obama called for congressional action to expand access to mortgages, to allow all homeowners to refinance at lower rates after housing-market improvements in recent years, and to preserve access to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, greater access.

He also called on Congress to approve Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the top regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Scott, meanwhile, blasted Obama’s reluctance to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S., along with the administration’s energy policies writ large.

“President Obama’s failed leadership on energy policy will cost every American family more when you buy food at the grocery store, take a family vacation, or turn your air conditioner on this summer,” Scott said.

Obama plans to evaluate the pipeline project–which enjoys wide Republican support–based on how much carbon pollution it will add to the atmosphere, the president announced in a June speech on energy and climate change.

Scott also criticized Obama’s new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy, for dismissing the notion that environmental regulations mean fewer jobs.

“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs, please?” McCarthy said during an appearance at Harvard Law School in June, The Washington Post reported. McCarthy said cutting emissions will “feed the economic agenda of this country.”

Scott said McCarthy “doesn’t want to talk about jobs anymore as she writes new job killing regulations,” his comments highlighting a fundamental disconnect between environmentalist Democrats who see climate change as a threat and want to restrict carbon emissions, and Republicans who have largely dismissed pollution as a cause of climate change and see environmental regulations as a threat to the U.S. economy.

Scott also criticized the president for a decrease in oil-and-gas production on U.S. federal lands during Obama’s tenure.

Oil production on federal lands dropped by about seven percent, while natural-gas production dropped by 23 percent, from 2007 to 2012 according to a March report by the Congressional Research Service.

Overall oil and natural-gas production has risen during Obama’s tenure, thanks to a boost in production on non-federal land.

“The bottom line is the price of energy is higher because of the President’s failed policies,” Scott said, pledging that Republicans “want a true all-of-the-above energy strategy, because a diverse, market-based energy portfolio of nuclear, wind, solar and other renewables means more competition and lower prices for consumers.”

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