The pause in the busy oral argument schedule at the Supreme Court gives DC Dicta a chance to catch up on news from across the street at the Capitol, and from across town at the White House. As a member of Red Sox Nation (it’s ok, we root for the Nats too!) the appearance by Big Papi, Jason Varitek and the rest of the World Champion team at the White House was the big news of the week for us. But there is actual legal news to get to as well:
After advisors to President Bush on Tuesday urged the veto of a bill aimed at curbing the subprime-fueled mortgage meltdown by changing bankruptcy law, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged Bush to work with Democratic lawmakers to pass the “The Foreclosure Prevention Act.”
The proposed bankruptcy law change in the bill has drawn opposition not only from the White House, but also the banking industry, which has lobbied Congress hard to drop the language.
But in a letter to the president regarding the advisors’ opinion, Reid urged Bush to “to reject their advice and work with us to enact legislation that will address the housing crisis facing millions of American families.”
Addressing the bankruptcy law provision, Reid wrote:
“We understand your advisors specifically expressed concern about Title IV of the bill, which would change federal bankruptcy law to allow judges to modify mortgages on primary residences. Current law allows bankruptcy judges to assist individuals who are unable to fully meet almost any type of obligation – including loans for luxury yachts or vacation homes – yet it prohibits similar assistance for those struggling to stay in their own homes. That makes no sense, particularly during an economic crisis that avoiding foreclosures could help mitigate.”
Earlier in the day, at an event with other Senate Democrats and civil rights leaders to discuss the impact of the mortgage crisis on African American communities, Reid also pushed for passage of the bill, and blamed Republicans for stalling it. “Democrats are committed to addressing the housing crisis and to helping families threatened with foreclosure stay in their homes – it is the right thing to do for struggling homeowners and the right thing to keep communities afloat,” Reid said. “We are asking for Republicans to work with us.”