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Lawmakers Remain Split Over Help for Homeowners

Amid the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent economic downturn, Republican and Democratic legislators alike have called for the government to do more to aid struggling homeowners. However, the amount and kind of such aid is the subject of fierce debate. A reporter details the legislative battle over housing aid.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Many Democrats and some Republicans say the government should do more to help homeowners in financial trouble, but the plans circulating on Capitol Hill about how to do that are very different.

    In fact, the Senate passed a bill yesterday. But before it was approved, many Democrats already said it didn't go far enough.

    David Herszenhorn has been covering the story for the New York Times, and he joins us now.

    And that Senate bill, how would it work? And what is it supposed to do to keep people in their homes?

  • DAVID HERSZENHORN, New York Times:

    Well, the Senate bill is targeted really at the housing industry, stabilizing the market, rather than providing direct assistance to homeowners.

    There's some money for local governments to buy up foreclosed properties, fix them. The White House is opposed to that. And there's some money for local housing authorities to refinance loans.

    But this is really a more broader economic package. So there's tax breaks for home builders and other struggling businesses, not just builders. There is a credit for folks who buy foreclosed homes of $7,000.

    So it's actually more of a tax package in the Senate, even though it's a housing — it's called a housing bill, the Foreclosure Prevention Act. And Chris Dodd, the senator from Connecticut who sponsored it, acknowledged yesterday that it doesn't live up to its name.

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