(Source: The Washington Post By Ezra Klein) – To emphasize a point I made in a Thursday post, the Obama administration can’t use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do a mass refinancing of troubled mortgages. They need the Federal Housing Finance Authority, which is currently led by a holdover from the George W. Bush years, to sign off first. But Congress is under no similar restriction. All they need to do is pass S.170, the Helping Responsible Homeowners Act.The bill, co-sponsored in the Senate by Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), deals with two problems in the current housing market: First, it directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer refinancing opportunities to anyone who is current on his or her mortgage, no matter how underwater the mortgage is. That’s the “responsible” part of the bill’s title: If you’re 50 percent underwater and you’re still making payments, you are beyond responsible. You are making a decision to pay more than your home is worth when you could simply walk away.\

Source: The Washington Post By Ezra Klein

Posted at 01:30 PM ET, 08/26/2011

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