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My Blue Dog opponent refuses to debate me.  I am ready and willing - and I have a question for Jane Harman:  Why did you side with Republicans to defeat a mortgage-relief  amendment to the financial overhaul bill? With several thousand people in our district (CA-36) facing foreclosure, we’re looking at neighborhoods from West Los Angeles to San Pedro turning from beauty to blight.  

It behooves everyone in Congress to demand that big banks, the overnight recipients of billion-dollar bail-outs, renegotiate loans in bankruptcy court.  After all, we must remember these banks, the ones we bailed out, caused the financial meltdown with predatory sub-prime lending.

Harman voted with a coalition of Republicans and corporate Blue Dog Democrats to water down the legislation by excluding language (the "cram-down" amendment) that would have allowed homeowners, saddled with debt and underwater equity, to renegotiate their home loan in bankruptcy court.

Here's what THOMAS has on House Amendment 534 to House Resolution 4173:

H.AMDT.534 to H.R.4173 An amendment numbered 19 printed in House Report 111-370 to allow bankruptcy courts to extend repayment periods, reduce excessive interest rates and fees, and adjust the principal balance of the mortgage to a home's fair market value as necessary to prevent foreclosure and revised to allow the VA, FHA, and RHS to take steps to facilitate mortgage modifications. The amendment is substantively identical to title I, subtitle A and sections 121-123 of subtitle B of H.R. 1106 (Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009), which passed the House on March 5, 2009.

Latest Major Action: 12/11/2009 House amendment not agreed to. Status: On agreeing to the Marshall amendment (A018) Failed by recorded vote: 188 - 241 (Roll no. 963).

According to a December 7, 2009 House Judciary Committee press release the cram-down amendment was co-sponsored by John Conyers, Michael Turner, Zoe Lofgren, Jim Marshall, Maxine Waters, Steve Cohen, Brad Miller, Bill Delahunt, and Jerrold Nadler.

Harman's supporters claim she voted against the cram-down amendment as procedural protest because the Rules Committee had excluded an amendment she offered that would have provided relief to former IndyMac Bank customers - that procedural protest vote (cast on December 10th) does not exempt Harman from criticism of her NO vote on mortgage relief. Because the fact remains that the December 11th vote was not a procedural vote. It was a real vote on a real issue that makes life incredibly tough for real people facing foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy judges are now allowed to modify loan terms on bankers' vacation or investment properties in Hawaii or Vail, but not on my district's primary residences in Wilmington, a Latino community beset with foreclosures, situated at the intersection of oil refineries, sewage treatment plants, and diesel exhaust fumes from the Port of Los Angeles.  I toured north Wilmington this weekend and saw the abundance of homes teetering on foreclosure.

It wasn't always this way.

Homeowners of primary residences were eligible for loan modification in bankruptcy court prior to the passage of the 2005 bankruptcy bill.  Jane Harman voted for that bill.
We want representatives who truly represent us, working men and women -- not Wall Street or million-dollar CEO's spending weekends on their yachts.  Once again, however, my Blue Dog opponent, who also voted for the mean-spirited bankruptcy bill, sides with big corporations against the people of our district.  While thousands of homeowners from West Los Angeles to San Pedro face foreclosure, not only on their home but on the American Dream, Harman votes to slam the door in their face, to essentially kick them out of their living room.

The vote was 241-188 to reject the mortgage relief amendment, with Harman joining 71 conservative Democrats and 170 Republicans in rejecting mortgage relief.  Had the amendment been included in the final bill, homeowners under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge would have been allowed to extend a mortgage repayment term, reduce sky-high high interest rates and exorbitant hidden fees, and, under limited circumstances, adjust the principal to fair market value. Now that last one is a biggie, considering the millions of homes bought at inflated prices during the real estate bubble. Why should  banks receive billions in bail-out money, refuse to renegotiate home loans, and then get a pass in bankruptcy court?  In Congress I will work to strengthen the Progressive Caucus, to work with progressive caucuses in each state party, so that together we can create the political will to successfully reintroduce the amendment my opponent voted down.

I want to ensure working families, the American middle class, the people facing foreclosure in Wilmington, that they can renegotiate their home loans to enjoy a stable and secure future.

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, there were 7, 526 foreclosures in the 36th congressional district in 2009.  The Center projects an additional 25, 053 foreclosures within the next four years.

Less  than 1.5 million of the 3.2 million homeowners targeted by the Obama administration for home loan modifications and mortgage relief are likely to qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program, according to  Herb Allison, the U.S. Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial stability, who testified recently before the House Financial Services Committee.

Over a million Americans risk losing their homes. Unless Congress makes it possible for  banks to renegotiate primary residence loans in bankruptcy court, we face dramatic ripple effects – dwindling property tax revenue, abandoned crime-ridden neighborhoods, and more homeless families struggling on our streets.

We need relief - not only in bankruptcy court but also in Congress.  Blue Dogs, step aside.  It's the people's turn.

Please help me defeat a Blue Dog whose votes are pushing people out of their homes.  Donate and support my campaign at  To indicate that you are a member of the Daily Kos community, add $1 to the amount of your donation.  You can make the difference.

I'm Marcy Winograd and I'm challenging Blue Dog corporate Democrat Jane Harman in the June 8, 2010 Democratic Party primary.  In 2006, when I jumped into the race just three months before the primary, I mobilized almost 38% of the vote.  

Originally posted to marcy winograd on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:01 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Harman's true corporate colors are showing (8+ / 0-)

    Rep. Harman isn't a progressive, but she plays one on TV, whenever she gets the face time. Marcy's campaigns this time and in 2006 have forced her to pay more attention to her constituents, and to be more progressive than seems to be her natural inclination.  After all, it is worth remembering that in running for governor in '98, she bragged on herself as the "best Republican in the Democratic party." But in this vote, she has made clear where her priorities and sympathies lie.  

    I'm proud to be Marcy's husband, and hope all who read this will support her and check out her website.

    "The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love."

    by Budlawman on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:17:48 PM PST

  •  "showing" lol they have never been hidden n/t (7+ / 0-)

    post hoc, ergo propter hoc

    by RvgAqs on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:21:49 PM PST

  •  Why don't you want me to buy a house? (0+ / 0-)

    I am a renter.  I'd like for lower prices to permit me to buy a house.  Quit propping up home prices and keeping them out of reach for normal Californians.  There is no reason why someone who bought a $900,000 house that they couldn't afford should get to see their principle reduced to 450k, when there are renters out there, who did the responsible thing back in 2005, who would jump at the chance to buy at that price.  

    •  Unfortunately ... (5+ / 0-)

      Financial institutions routinely pushed sub-prime loans on prospective homeowners, even when the buyers could have qualified for a different type of loan, one that wouldn't have put them in such a bind a few years down the road.  There is foreclosure fall-out, for when doors slam shut and homes are boarded the entire neighborhood suffers.

      Marcy Winograd Progressive Democrat for CA-36

      by marcy winograd on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:27:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why is preserving home ownership required? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Do you think that renting is such a horrible fate that those who bought a home they couldn't afford, should now get a do-over and have their homes subsidized by current renters?  This isn't generally an issue of someone being forced out of a home onto the streets - but rather of them not being able to afford reset mortgages.  

        There are many people who would be screwed over by cramdown.  Middle-class Californians need affordable housing, which means median prices that are lower than they are, even today.  It is very unfortunate, obviously, for folks who bought at the peak, but sometimes when you make a bad investment, that is the consequence.

        (Incidentally I don't support wall street bailouts EITHER).

        •  house value could have been reset (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt, rossl

          John Conyers explains:

          Our amendment – which won’t cost taxpayers a single penny – will allow a homeowner under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge to extend a mortgage’s repayment term; reduce excessive high interest rates and exorbitant hidden fees; and, under certain limited circumstances, allow the principal amount of the mortgage to be adjusted to the home’s fair market value.


        •  The two aren't necessarily related (5+ / 0-)

          The idea is to promote and preserve stability, and also to have banks pay for some of the mess they've contributed to.  No broad-based solution will be perfect in terms of selecting precisely who was and was not at fault for taking on a bad loan, but so far, the banks have gotten off scot-free.  They should be compelled to pay some of the costs for their own recklessness and bad judgment, and they should also be compelled to free up credit, to help people in your situation.  Home prices have come tumbling down, which should help out at least some folks in your situation.  (And I'm Marcy's husband, for the record).

          "The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love."

          by Budlawman on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:49:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

            I'd be 100% happy if banks who received TARP loans were forced to sell off their existing inventory.  Home prices would temporary drop but at least then they could start to recover.  The public would benefit by being able to buy cheaper homes, and the new homeowners would be less likely to allow their homes to become blighted than the banks are.

            However cramdown rewards countless folks who bought a far bigger home then they could afford and props up prices, to the detriment to the 70-80% or so of Californians who are unable to afford median home prices in many counties in the state.  

      •  Nice Diplomatic Answer :-) (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peace voter, Kitsap River, Budlawman, cany

        Some jerk fine person hoping to profit from the misery of others in the housing collapse has no shortage of distressed properties for his perusal and purchase.

        Hope to hear from you in the future when you are Rep. Marcy Winograd.

        Best,  Terry

        •  hoping to profit? (0+ / 0-)

          No.  Hoping to buy one house to live in.

          I fail to see why the folks who bought a house in 2005 should be considered morally superior to the folks who continued renting, to the point where the latter group has to subsidize the former groups homes.

          •  there are plenty of foreclosed homes around me (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peace voter, Kitsap River

            because the ***hats wouldn't renegotiate.  many of those folks lost their jobs and couldn't keep up.  in one case, one of the two spouses died.

            so yeah, go ahead and whine.  but if you come my way, you have a BEVY to foreclosed houses in Orange County to chose from.


            866-338-1015 toll-free to Congress in D.C. USE it!

            by cany on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 05:29:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Buy one, then. (2+ / 0-)

            There are many out there, even (maybe especially) in California. If you have the stellar credit and the down-payment and everything else that is required of a homeowner (most of which isn't required of a renter), then buy yourself a house. Go on. Have fun; owning your own home is something that keeps neighborhoods stable, keeps families stable (very important), and keeps communities thriving.

            I couldn't afford to buy a house in California, either, so I moved to a state where I could afford to buy one and after renting for a couple of years to check out this town, I did so. I'm staying put. I am active with the local Democrats, organize health care reform (i.e. single payer) advocacy here, and have a great time at both. I'm a student and we have a small, responsible mortgage. We have the house and land we love and it's affordable, for the most part. It is my first house and probably my last. But note that I had to leave the state of California to buy a house. If you want to buy one, you might look for jobs in other states where houses are more affordable. That would be most of them.

            Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

            by Kitsap River on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 05:31:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  See Your Chaplain About Morals (3+ / 0-)

            Not my bag.

            After the San Francisco earthquake, I rode on a bus with a fellow returning to Alabama.  I happened to notice he wasn't eating and I shared some food with him.  

            Later I bought him food and danged if I didn't run completely out of money myself the last day after we had gone separate ways.  

            Did me good not to eat.  I am way too fat.  Didn't do much for my disposition though.  I am fatheaded as well.

            This was his story.

            The fellow was a ticket clerk in San Francisco.  Thought he was blessed, a black man from a small rural town in Alabama to have found a job and a life in Babylon [please note: my wording entirely].  He paid for some years on a small house built on sand in a development that should never have been.

            Then the earthquake took out the entire development and everything the fellow had worked for.  He took all the money he had left and bought a bus ticket.  I never asked if bought a roundtrip ticket.  He didn't even have a change of clothes.

            The man was prepared not to eat for - what - three or four days.  

            Man-made disasters are not really different than acts of God.  The effect on victims is the same.  God is no more even-handed than Bank of America.

            I have a niece who has been paying for a decade or two on a house and her mortgage is upside down.  Matter of enormous medical bills and marital problems.  I don't know if she can hang on.  Probably shouldn't but that is another story.

            You were saying?

            Hope you will consider voting for Marcy Winograd instead of the bankers' friend.  That is your choice.

            Best,  Terry

        •  Thank you, Terry (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peace voter, Budlawman, terryhallinan

          Terry, I will be proud to represent the people of California's 36th district, as well as the people of our nation in matters of war and peace and economic sustainability.  Thank you for your support, Marcy

          Marcy Winograd Progressive Democrat for CA-36

          by marcy winograd on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 06:02:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

      what am I missing here?


    •  If you want to buy a house (0+ / 0-)
      Move to Palmdale.
  •  It boggles the mind (9+ / 0-)

    that every loan in this country can be modified in bankruptcy except loans on peoples' homes.  As a mortgage broker I watched in amazement as my fellow brokers raked in huge commissions on bad loans not quite understanding the game, but knowing I didn't want to play.  Now the game is over and the homeowners are left holding the bag. Most of these borrowers already owned their own homes and were conned into serial refinances by "professional" loan agents.  These homeowners followed the advice of these slick salesmen.  We owe them the bankruptcy protection that eveyone else gets.

    •  Clearly Stated (5+ / 0-)

      Thank you, Dorothy, for clearly explaining the refinancing con.  Thank you, also, for resisting the dirty commissions on subprime loans.

      Marcy Winograd Progressive Democrat for CA-36

      by marcy winograd on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 04:42:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As I understand it (4+ / 0-)

      you can have every loan modified in bankruptcy court except the mortgage on your primary residence. If you have a vacation home in the Sierras, you can have that modified. If you have seven houses like Senator McCain, you can have the mortgage on six on them modified, but not the one you actually live in.

      I'd like someone to explain to me exactly how it benefits our country to have people participating in Jingle Mail and sending back the keys of underwater houses. I'd like someone to explain what benefit our country derives by coddling the rich and trodding on the middle class, in fact by propping up the rich at the expense of the middle class. How does Grandma, who was conned into a subprime mortgage by a shifty broker, benefit by becoming homeless in her old age after she loses her house? How do we? Oh, yeah, there's money to be made from it, of course, and that's all that matters, right?

      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

      by Kitsap River on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 05:37:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with you, although from the east coast (5+ / 0-)

    The time to send Harman packing is long past due.

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