George Goehl in the Huffington Post: President Obama's Unfinished Business on Housing


During his inauguration speech, President Obama gave an inspiring speech about his vision for a country that works together for the betterment of all. From climate change to human rights, President Obama sketched out a progressive agenda, but he neglected a crucially important element: finally ending the foreclosure crisis which continues to uproot families and blight communities.


We won't achieve a healthy economy by ignoring the millions of homeowners who are still struggling through the economic crash caused by Wall Street. But the single largest barrier to getting our housing market on track and pumping millions of dollars back into our economy currently works for President Obama. Edward DeMarco, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA), a holdover Bush appointee, is blocking policies that could help get our economy back on track.

DeMarco and FHFA are charged with overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and setting their policies and practices with a simple mandate: foster homeownership and save taxpayers money. Fannie and Freddie own or control well over half of the mortgages in the country. Clear evidence has documented that if Fannie and Freddie reset American families' mortgages to fair market value, it would save countless families from foreclosure and save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. But DeMarco, who is ideologically opposed to principal reduction, has categorically refused to move forward this fair and needed policy.

Americans need President Obama to move a nomination for a new FHFA director within the first 100 days of his second term. The new FHFA director must be someone who will put the needs of families, communities and our economy above ideology.

FHFA has been without a permanent Director for more than four years. Press reports have said that the Administration is planning to move a nomination for FHFA Director to the Senate for confirmation and this is good news. Millions of homeowners, and our nation's economy, cannot wait another four years, or even four months, for this roadblock to be removed.

Last week President Obama laid spoke to progressive values that should guide our country. Those values -- we are all in this together, human dignity, and fairness -- should equal swift action to keep families in their homes. That starts with replacing Ed DeMarco with someone who instead of working against the American people, actually works for them.



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