Obama Announces New Housing Initiative

President's first 2012, solo news conference includes plan to help homeowners.
7:31 | 03/06/12

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Transcript for Obama Announces New Housing Initiative
This is an ABC news special report. And a good afternoon to all of you I'm Diane Sawyer here with George Stephanopoulos -- ABC news headquarters in new York and we're interrupting your regular programming because we are awaiting the president. In the White House briefing rooms -- not to have this press conference George first one. In five months and on this Super Tuesday day that can't be -- Not at all which raises the last time the presence like to give a press conference before the Republicans set up. On a nominee in this -- she had to stay above the fray it is also of course the first press conference after that major summit yesterday. -- Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the prospect of war with Iran will get a chance to hear from him if he thinks that they pulled back from the brink. And let them. Pause that they have the president has certainly trying to convince Israeli prime minister to hold off any strike. Until American and international sanctions have more of a chance to bite. Andy give you a sense of what this five month has been in this time he has traveled to nineteen states -- of approval rating has gone up eight points so far he sang twice with the. And of course the official end of the war in Iraq a lot of -- and a lot of good news is come out on the economy since the president last book especially in the key issue unemployment even though gas prices are high. The unemployment -- has been. Dropping every single month since November. So there's so much talk about in this room and of course expect we'll have a question or two about Rush Limbaugh. And the events of these past couple of days that we hear and -- the president come out. Did the broom is gathering and here he is now for his first press conference and -- -- -- Now I understand there are some political contests. Going on tonight. But I thought I'd start the day off by taking a few questions which I'm sure will not be political in nature. But before I -- I want to make a few announcements about some steps we're taking to help. Responsible homeowners who've been struggling through this housing crisis. Now we've clearly seen some positive economic news over the last few months and businesses have created about. -- three point seven million new jobs over the last two years. Manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s. The auto industry is back in hiring more than 200000 people over the last few years confidence is up. In the economy is getting stronger but there are still millions of Americans who can't find a job. There are millions more were having a tough time making the rent. Or the mortgage. Paying for gas or -- -- so far job in Washington is and to sit back and do nothing and it's certainly not to stand in the way. The recovery right now we're going to do everything we can. To speeded up. Not congress do the right thing when they passed part of my jobs plan and preventative tech sites on. -- 160 million working Americans this year and that was a good first step. But it's not enough. They can just stop there and wait for the next election come around. There are a few things they can do right now that could make a real difference in people's lives. This congress should once and for all and tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and use that money to reward companies that are creating jobs here in the United States put. -- proposal that does just that. And there's no reason why congress can't come together and start acting -- This congress could hold a vote on the Buffett -- so that we don't have. Billionaires paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries that's just common sense. The vast majority of Americans believe it's common sense and if we're serious about paying down our deficit it's it has been the place to start -- -- And finally -- this congress should pass my proposal to give every responsible homeowner. A chance to save. An average of 3000 dollars a year by refinancing your mortgage at historically low rates. No red take. No run around from the banks. If you -- on time on your payments if -- done the right thing if you acted responsibly. He should have a chance to save that money. On your home. Perhaps to build up your equity or just have more money in your pocket that you can spend on businesses in your community. That would make a huge difference for millions of American -- -- Now. If congress refuses to -- I've said that all continue to do everything in my power. To act without them. Last fall we announced a mission of that allows millions of responsible homeowners to refinance at lower interest rates today we're taking it a step further. We are cutting by more than half the refinancing fees that families pay for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. That's gonna save the typical family in that situation extra thousand dollars a year on top of the savings -- -- also receive former finance. That would make re financing even more attractive to more families it's like another tax cut that'll put more money in people's pockets. We're under the sorrow we don't need caught congressional authorization -- -- Were also taking a series of steps to help homeowners who have served our country. It is unconscionable that. Members of armed forces and their families. I have. Been some of those who have been most susceptible to losing their homes do the actions of unscrupulous banks and mortgage lenders. Or last year is that happen a lot. So as part of the landmark settlement we reached with some of the nation's largest banks a few weeks ago here's what we're gonna do. If you are a member of the armed forces whose home was. Wrongfully foreclosed. You'll be substantially compensated for what the bank did to you and your family. If -- -- a member of the armed forces with a high interest -- who was wrongfully denied the chance to lower while you -- an -- -- service. Which banks are required to do by -- The banks will refund you the money you would've saved along with a significant penalty. The settlement will make sure that you are forced in foreclosure just because you have a permanent change in station. But can't sell your home because you'll more -- its work. Some of the money will also going to a fund that guarantees loans on favorable terms to our veterans. And they'll be more or -- -- protections for every man and woman who is currently serving this. Country homes where. -- before. No my -- here is going to be enough to make it right for Cameron -- -- these perfect dream while we take away. And no action. No matter how meaningful will entirely -- Our housing market it's -- it's not something the government by itself from -- But I'm not one of those people who believe that we just sit by and wait for the housing market to -- There are real things that we do right now we've made substantial difference in the lives of innocent responsible. Homeowners. -- for a thousand. And that's -- and any number of different areas when it comes to ensuring that this recovery. Touches many lives as possible. That's going to be my top priority as long as I hold this office and I will do everything I can to make that progress.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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