President Barack Obama announced a package of proposals designed to jolt the housing market, his latest effort to reignite the economy after four years of foreclosures and falling home prices.
“This housing crisis struck right at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America: our homes,” Obama said in a speech in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia. “We need to do everything in our power to repair the damage and make responsible families whole.”
The president said his plan would make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages into current low interest rates, which are now below 4 percent. Borrowers, even those who owe more than their homes are worth, would be able to refinance into loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration.
To pay for the program, Obama will ask Congress for a tax on financial companies with more than $50 billion in assets. Congress has refused to act on similar requests twice in the last two years.
“No more red tape, no more runaround from the banks,” Obama said. “A small fee on the largest financial institutions will make sure that it doesn’t add to the deficit.”
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