Should Biden Share Blame for Foreclosure Crisis?
Experts: Many Americans may have lost homes due to a bill championed by Biden.
August 28, 2008— -- Experts say hundreds of thousands of Americans may have lost their homes due to a bill championed by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Barack Obama's vice-presidential running mate.
At least two studies have concluded that the United States' foreclosure crisis was exacerbated by a 2005 law that overhauled the nation's bankruptcy law. That conclusion is echoed by other experts, although the banking and credit industry disputes it.
Congressional Republicans drove the effort to pass the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005. But Biden – who has enjoyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from credit industry executives – endorsed the measure early on and worked to gather Democratic support for it.
Biden's early and vocal support was "essential" to the bill's passage, said Travis Plunkett of the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Consumer Federation, which opposed the measure. Biden "went out of his way to undermine criticism of the legislation," and his efforts helped convince other Democrats to support the bill.
"Biden was a fairly strong proponent of that bankruptcy bill," said Philip Corwin, a consultant for the American Bankers Association, which represents banks and lenders. However, Biden was "not in our pocket in any way," he added.
Biden's Senate office did not provide comment for this story.
Asked if the Obama/Biden campaign was concerned Biden's record was a liability when discussing economic security, David Wade, a spokesman for the Obama/Biden campaign, said, "Barack Obama and Joe Biden have real solutions for struggling families in danger of losing their homes because of the Bush economy and abusive lending practices."