Obama talks housing in Saturday address
May 11th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama talks housing in Saturday address

(CNN) – President Barack Obama described America’s housing market as “healing” on Saturday in his weekly address, touting his own record on the subject and encouraging Congress to act on more of his proposals, including approving his nominee for a key housing post.

“From the day I took office, I’ve made it a priority to help responsible homeowners and prevent the kind of recklessness that helped cause this crisis in the first place,” Obama said. “My housing plan has already helped more than two million people refinance their mortgages, and they’re saving an average of $3,000 per year.”

The Obama administration has tried to help underwater borrowers - those who owe more than their homes are worth - through the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP.

But that initiative has been limited in its effectiveness over the past few years, securing principal reductions for less than 120,000 borrowers as of the end of 2012, and it limits such reductions to mortgages that aren't controlled by mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are overseen by the government.

Obama conceded there was more work to be done Saturday, saying, “We’ve got more responsible homeowners to help – folks who have never missed a mortgage payment, but aren’t allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they’re worth.”

He said two million Americans have been able to refinance their mortgages but that more homeowners could still be able to save money.

“I’ve called on Congress to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance, and with it, the opportunity to save $3,000 a year. That’s like a $3,000 tax cut. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who could take advantage of that, you should ask your representative in Congress why they won’t act on it,” he said.

And he encouraged senators to approve Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina, his nominee to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Freddie and Fannie.

Watt is “the right person for the job,” Obama said.

Some on the left have questioned Watt's independence in view of the substantial campaign donations he's received over the years from banks and other financial institutions.

But he has also received large contributions from unions, and his nomination had drawn support from some progressives.

Watt's confirmation process may still be contentious.

Republican senators Bob Corker and Mike Crapo expressed concern about his nomination, calling on the Obama administration to articulate a plan for reducing government involvement in the housing market going forward.

CNNMoney’s James O’Toole and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    His handouts, in all areas, are bankrupting the country, and little has been accomplished otherwise.

    That is hardly a record to brag about.

    May 11, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  2. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Why is it that the Liberal's want to give away the store. If someone takes out a morgage and then can't pay or it it will most likely be forclosed on. It isn't up to the Government to make the payments by raiding asomeone elses bank account. If you can't pay for it, don't buy it.

    May 11, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. lottie

    The repos can't seem to figure anything out. Same old negative nasty remarks over and over again. That's why you lost the election you fools. Keep it up and it will happen again. Tired of all you backstabbing remarks. How about moving forward and helping the people of this country. ?

    May 11, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Revoltnow007

    just great.....now he's going to muck it up like frank dodd and barney frank did back in Clintons day.....look out folks, the democrats are going to screw things up...again! oh, then they tax you extra while spending your money on stupid things that do nothing for our countries health....yea, that's really smart giving this bozo 4 more years....geez...

    May 11, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Thomas

    @Rick McDaniel
    His handouts, in all areas, are bankrupting the country, and little has been accomplished otherwise.

    Get over it , stop blaming GW Bush and his two ten year wars bought on credit . All the billions of handouts to warlords and corporations .

    What ever happened to Enron ? Where is Ahmed Chalabi , the man whose information provided the justification for the American invasion of Iraq.

    Stop blaming GW and start blaming Obama

    Brought to you by Fiscally Responsible Moral Forgiving Conservatives .

    Mark Sanford / Rand Paul 2016

    May 11, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. GI Joe

    Why did they give 1000 times as much to the Banks and Wall street without a peep from the republicans? The HOUSE controls the money, folks.

    Not the Senate and not the President.

    May 11, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Larry in Houston

    "housing" has never stopped or slowed down in Texas – they are building 150K + houses every day – especially with the low labor cost – and the Mexicans begging to be hired – as a matter of fact – they just built 2 new McD & 2 new auto zones + an advance auto + 2 more burger kings in our area.

    May 11, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    Republicans can't be bothered with civics lessons, GI Joe, though your attempt to educate is appreciated. Their favorite talk-show entertainers say that Obama's to blame for all the bad stuff, and that's that.

    May 11, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Bernard obryant

    How many jobs obama said was created a bad hundred thousand lol that not enough we need more more housing more job would be created bad and underwater housing is the govt should buy them for one dollar and give them to people and help the private sector create job and stop blaming g bush when he gone

    May 11, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    In all of this not one mention that Fannie Mae ( also Freddy Mac) are about to repay the rest of the government bailout loans... it must really antagonise Republicans to see GM Chrysler, F&M and MAC the banks all coming good in terms of repaying the government " they claimed was wasted money."

    May 12, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |