Does this look like a Hillary-style housing bailout? Because it is walking and talking and quacking like one:
Offering federal help for strapped mortgage holders, President Bush is proposing to aid hundreds of thousands of borrowers hard hit by the housing slump.
The president on Friday was to talk about several initiatives and reforms to help homeowners with risky mortgages keep their homes, a senior administration official said Thursday. Bush also was to discuss efforts to prevent these kinds of problems from arising in the future.
The official said Bush will direct Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson to work on an initiative to help troubled mortgage holders get services and products they need to keep them from defaulting on their loans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the initiatives ahead of the presidential event.
Bush also planned to:
• Urge Congress to pass Federal Housing Administration overhaul legislation that would give the FHA more flexibility in assisting mortgage holders with subprime mortgages.
• Pledge to work with Congress to reform the tax code to help troubled borrowers rework their loans.
• Call for rigorously enforcing predatory lending laws and strengthening lending practices.
Foreclosure and late payments have spiked, especially for so-called subprime borrowers with blemished credit histories or low incomes. Higher interest rates and weak home values have made it impossible for some to pay or to keep up with their monthly mortgage payments. Some overstretched homeowners can’t afford to refinance or even sell their home.
Out-Democratting the Democrats: It’s the GOP lame duck way.
Update: Politico says the Bush admin is arguing their plan is not a bailout. Sort of like their amnesty plan wasn’t an amnesty…