August 20th, 2010
12:12 PM ET
8 years ago

Foreclosure prevention program losing its punch


Only 36,695 troubled homeowners received long-term mortgage modifications in July under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

New York ( - The president's signature foreclosure rescue plan is losing its punch, according to a federal report released Friday.

Only 36,695 troubled homeowners received long-term mortgage modifications in July under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program, known as HAMP. This brings the total to 434,717 borrowers who have successfully made it out of the trial phase.

A month ago, 51,205 delinquent borrowers were given long-term assistance.

The number of people falling out of the program, however, is on the rise. Some 12,912 homeowners had their permanent modifications canceled in July, 272 of whom paid off their loans.

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Filed under: issues • Obama administration
August 5th, 2010
01:10 PM ET
8 years ago

Medicare gets lifeline from health care reform

New York ( - The newly passed health care law will boost the financial strength of the nation's massive Medicare program, the government said Thursday.

The controversial Affordable Care Act extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years, to 2029, according to the annual report from the trustees who oversee Medicare.

The effects of the law - lowering health care costs, focusing on prevention and improving service quality - will help rein in the exploding costs of Medicare, the administration said.

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Filed under: • Health care • issues • Medicare
August 5th, 2010
12:52 PM ET
8 years ago

Senate approves $26 billion for needy states

New York ( - The Senate voted Thursday to send $26 billion more in federal aid to cash-strapped states.

The measure, which passed by a 61-39 vote, contains $16.1 billion in additional Medicaid money and $10 billion to prevent layoffs of teachers and first responders.

It now moves to the House, which will return Tuesday from its August recess to vote on the bill.

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Filed under: issues • Senate
April 14th, 2010
02:28 PM ET
8 years ago

228,000 receive mortgage modifications

New York ( - President Obama's foreclosure prevention plan
has helped nearly 228,000 delinquent borrowers keep their homes, the administration said Wednesday.

That's up from a month ago, when roughly 168,000 people received long-term mortgage modifications.

Another 781,000 troubled homeowners were in trial modifications, through March, officials said. Of these, 108,000 have been approved for permanent modification by servicers and are awaiting borrowers' acceptance.

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Filed under: • President Obama
March 4th, 2010
05:24 PM ET
8 years ago

Job creation bill heads back to Senate

New York ( - Lawmakers' efforts to spur job creation were delayed once again Thursday after the House amended a $15 billion Senate bill before passing it.

The amendments mean the Senate must again approve the four-prong measure, this time with no changes, if President Obama is to sign it into law. The Senate may not take up the legislation until next week.

The bill would exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed; fund highway and transit programs through 2010; extend a tax break for business that spend money on capital investments, such as equipment purchases; and expand the use of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects.

However, the House added two provisions to pay for the infrastructure spending and corporate tax breaks. Its amendments require foreign financial institutions to give the Internal Revenue Service more information to help it catch tax cheats, and delays a tax break for foreign interest payments. The measure passed by a 217-201 vote.

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December 3rd, 2009
02:40 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama opens push for jobs

The vice president looked on as the president spoke about jobs Thursday.

The vice president looked on as the president spoke about jobs Thursday.

(CNN) - President Obama called on business leaders Thursday to help the administration kickstart hiring as policymakers contend with rising unemployment that’s weighing down the economy.

Some 130 executives, economists, small business owners and non-profit officials are gathering for the afternoon jobs summit at the White House on the eve of the government's November unemployment report. The nation is expected to have lost another 114,000 jobs, with unemployment remaining at 10.2%, the highest in 26 years, according to an economists' survey.

"I'm not interested in taking a wait and see approach when it comes to creating jobs," Obama said.

The employment picture is certainly grim. Nearly 16 million Americans are out of work, one-third of whom have been unemployed for more than six months. There are now six workers competing for every job vacancy.

President Obama and some lawmakers are searching for a way to stem this unrelenting loss of jobs, which is casting doubt on effectiveness of many of his economic programs, from his $787 billion stimulus plan to his $75 billion foreclosure prevention initiative.

Just how much Washington can do to boost hiring remains to be seen.

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Filed under: Congress • Economy • Obama administration • President Obama
July 28th, 2009
04:26 PM ET
9 years ago

U.S. to mortgage firms: Pick up the pace

NEW YORK ( - Loan servicers will "significantly" increase the pace of mortgage modifications under the Obama foreclosure prevention program, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.

The Obama administration wants to see 500,000 trial modifications in place by Nov. 1. Currently, 200,000 are underway.

Officials called executives from 25 servicers participating in the program to Washington Tuesday to discuss improving the 5-month-old plan's implementation.

Both the Obama administration and the industry are feeling mounting pressure from borrowers who say their servicers are not responding to their calls and applications, losing their paperwork or not making decisions.

"[T]oo many homeowners are at risk of foreclosure right now," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement Tuesday. "Today's meeting was an opportunity to identify ways to accelerate the program and bring relief faster."

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Filed under: • Obama administration
July 18th, 2009
03:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Pennsylvania withholds July pay

NEW YORK ( - Pennsylvania state workers' paychecks are a little light these days.

Struggling to resolve a 17-day-old budget impasse, Pennsylvania is withholding pay for 69,000 state employees for time worked after July 1. Workers Friday received only 70% of their salary, covering days worked in June. Starting two weeks from now, they'll get nothing on payday until a state budget is approved.

Related: California's budget mess

Pennsylvania is one of three states that have yet to pass budgets for fiscal 2010, which began July 1. The other two - Connecticut and North Carolina - are operating under temporary spending measures. Still two others, Illinois and Ohio approved their 2010 budgets this week.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
July 16th, 2009
01:48 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama turns up heat on mortgage servicers

NEW YORK ( - As complaints mount about President Obama's foreclosure prevention program, the administration is ratcheting up the pressure on mortgage servicers.

Financial executives will meet with Treasury and Housing officials on July 28 to discuss how the loan modification and refinancing plan has been implemented. The administration plans to grill servicers that have done few modifications or have had many complaints.

Officials also want financial institutions to hire more people and train them better, expand their call centers, and send more mailings to eligible borrowers, according to a letter sent to servicers last week. The government also said servicers need to establish a way for borrowers to contest their treatment or denial.

"There is a general need for servicers to devote substantially more resources to this program for it to fully succeed and achieve the objectives we all share," according to the letter, signed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We are asking all servicers expand their servicing capacity and improve the execution quality of loan modifications."

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Filed under: • President Obama
July 8th, 2009
01:34 PM ET
9 years ago

Stimulus propping up cash-strapped states

NEW YORK ( - Fiscally-stressed states are using their stimulus dollars to satisfy immediate needs rather than undertake longer-term reforms, according to a government report released Wednesday.

For example, states are spending education funds to prevent layoffs and maintain programs, a Government Accountability Office report found.

Trying to survive one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, state and school district officials say they don't have the money to undertake projects such as building new schools and expanding early-childhood education.

Similarly, states are using nearly half their infrastructure funds for pavement improvements, which can be implemented quickly and don't require environmental clearances and in-depth design work.

The $787 billion recovery act walks a fine line between trying to get funds out quickly to stimulate the economy and spurring longer-term initiatives.

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