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Senate Democrats beat back an amendment to their financial reform bill from Sen. John McCain [R, AZ] on Tuesday that would have required the government to release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from their control and force them to sink or swim in the free market like all the other financial companies. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 43-56, with all Republicans voting in favor along wit two Democrats -- Sen. Evan Bayh [D, IN] and Sen. Russell Feingold [D, WI].

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A Cram-Down Deal

April 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Congress's leading bill to address the foreclosure crisis has been stuck in the Senate for the past five weeks, but a deal may have finally been reached. It looks like the main provision of the The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which would let bankruptcy judges rework mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure, including a "cram-down" of the principle, would be significantly weakened.

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In February, President Obama announced a plan to help families with troubled mortgages stay in their home. One of the key components of the plan, giving judges the power to modify loans for homeowners in bankruptcy, requires approval from Congress (H.R. 1106), but Senate moderates are threatening to block it for now and to push for a weaker version of the provision down the road.

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New Democrats Strike a Cramdown Deal

March 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

For the past few days, the New Democrats Coalition and the House leadership have been engaged in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the cramdown provision in H.R. 1106, and they have finally decided on a way to move forward. A New Democrat-sponsored secondary amendment will be offered to John Conyers' manager's amendment, and together they will account for all the concessions to the bill that the moderates appear to be requiring for their support.

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Preventing Foreclosures - Why the Delay?

March 2, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There's something happening behind the scenes with Congress's portion of the Obama foreclosure prevention plan, but it's hard to figure out exactly what it is. Last week, the centrist New Democrats Coalition pushed for and won several changes to the bill (H.R. 1106); now there is indication that they are pushing for more changes to weaken one of the central provisions.

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House Addresses Foreclosures (Floor Amendments)

February 25, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives on Thursday will place their vote on a major housing and mortgage reform bill, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, that has been in the works for months. This is the "cram-down" bill, which would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure. It's basically the bill that was negotiated with Citigroup back in January.

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Progress for Foreclosure Prevention Measure

January 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Atrios and Yglesias point out the absurdity of news reports tonight that Citigroup has reached a deal with members of Congress to let bankruptcy judges alter troubled mortgages. I agree; and I suppose there are two stories here, then - that Congress may finally pass this major foreclosure prevention policy into law this session and that the media now takes corporate control of lawmakers as a given. Here's the story as reported by Congress Daily ($): >Citigroup Inc. agreed Thursday to cha...

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