On the Hill, Roundup of the Congressional herd.

The herd is in full stampede with the inauguration of President Obama. Hearings are taking place on Geithner's nomination, Liberals want cram down provision added to economic stimulus package, and House defeats second release of TARP funds.

Time could be issue for Geithner

It is still perplexing that a man who was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, could overlook something that any self-employed small business owner already knows. You have to file your own taxes. If it was not gross incompetence then it was misconduct, which opens up a whole new arena about ethics. Like many things with the Obama administration, Geithner is not what he is being sold as.

Geithner's nomination was unfortunately approved by the Senate Finance Committee, 18-5, with Republicans casting the the five "no" votes. Although, his appointment could face staunch opposition on the Senate floor, Harry Reid has said he will call for cloture if needed.

Liberals want 'cram down' provision in stimulus

The Hill-Liberal Democratic lawmakers railed Thursday against the tactical decision of President Obama and House leaders to leave a bankruptcy “cram-down” provision out of the economic stimulus package.

The provision would let bankruptcy judges to shrink, or “cram down,” mortgages for homeowners who owe more than their home is worth.

Obama and Democratic congressional leaders say they strongly support it, but the financial industry and Senate Republicans oppose it. So the White House and Democratic leaders worry that making the provision part of the stimulus would complicate their efforts to build GOP support in the Senate, where Republicans have enough strength to support a filibuster.

But at a hearing on the provision Thursday, Democrats said that too many people are losing their homes to worry about Republican votes or financial industry objections.
This is a contentious issue for me, right now people are losing their homes at an alarming rate. In order to stay in their homes,the only choice the average American might have is a Chapter 13 debt re-consolidation. Under the cram down provision this would give bankruptcy judges the legal authority to modify the mortgage debt much like they do for credit cards.

The main problem I see is a swelling in the ranks of borrowers applying of bankruptcy. That directly effects the mortgage and finance industry, in the long run, and does nothing to curtail the effects of the credit crunch. Like most plans being presented, it only exacerbates it, furthering problems consumers will face.

Mortgage companies need their money and Americans need their homes. If the people aren't paying their bill and no one is buying homes, the mortgage companies will go under, it's inevitable. The best solution is for them to work together to come up with some creative financing that is amicable for both parties. A little charity now inspires a helluva lot of loyalty in the future.

House votes against releasing TARP funds

The Hill-Members of the House treated Thursday’s vote on the release of the second half of the economic bailout as if it were political kryptonite.

In a 270-155 vote, the House passed a resolution disapproving the release of the second $350 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. Only four Republicans voted for the measure.

The vote was largely symbolic because the Senate last week rejected a resolution disapproving the release of the funds. Since both chambers would have to pass a resolution of disapproval, the Obama administration will have access to the funds.

Given the unpopularity of the TARP program, the safest vote was probably to support the disapproval resolution. Almost none of those who voted against it face a difficult race in 2010. read more...

At first the title blew me away, then I remembered as is mentioned in the article. It takes both the Senate and the House to deny Obama access to the funds. They still get what they want and the TARP doesn't get stopped. Can you say, "Spend, baby, spend?"

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