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Talking Bankruptcy Law With Brad and Linda

December 20, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Over the past couple of days Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) have been holding online discussions about their bill that would allow bankruptcy courts to modify home mortgages. The blogs DailyKos, TPMCafe and OpenLeft hosted the discussions, and, because they bring together many different views, concerns and insights, the threads that remain on those sites are invaluable resources for learning about the bill. As Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation said about the forums, “the kind of watered down, sound-bite media a press release may create is incomparable to direct substantive communication with people.” Its true — and we are psyched that some members of Congress are moving in that direction.

TPMCafe kicked things off with the first discussion, which you can find here along with some background about the bill that Miller posted up front. On OpenLeft, Matt Stoller added to the discussion by posting a couple of conflicting arguments from big players in the mortgage world and a link to the bill page on OpenCongress (thanks Matt!), where we have been collecting the discussion about this bill in the blogosphere and in news reports for months. Finally, this morning DailyKos held another discussion with Miller and Sanchez where the community there asked questions and had their say on the bill. By the way, from scanning the comments on the threads linked to above, I can see that the discussions really did attract people with many different views, not to mention the valuable insights form the legal professionals that participated.

The bill, the Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act, was voted successfully out of subcommittee in October and is expected to be considered by the full House Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from vacation in January. If you care about the problems plaguing the housing market and the ensuing credit crunch, you’re going to want to read up on this bill — consider links above essential reading.

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