Pelosi Tepid On Senate Housing Bill

It's beginning to sound like the grand Senate compromise on the housing bill has turned off some top Democrats in the House.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told reporters this morning that the balance of the housing bill has gotten a bit out of whack with the major tax breaks for homebuilders.

“The Senate came together in a bipartisan way and gave a signal that Congress is prepared to act," Pelosi said, according to Crypt colleague Daniel Reilly. "There are some improvements that certainly need to be made. …Hopefully the balance will swing to be more in favor of those families who are in danger of losing their homes."

Pelosi was echoing the concerns of consumer groups across the board who are concerned that the Senate dumped a provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to restructure mortgages. The Senate bill also slashed in half the proposed amount for foreclosure counseling, while it added tax breaks for people who swoop in and purchase foreclosed homes.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has proposed a more aggressive overhaul of housing regulations, including a significant increase in the size of mortgages the Federal Housing Administration can finance. The Senate bill, chock full of tax credits and community development block grants, may get significant support from Republicans in the Senate, but the legislation will run into trouble with the White House if Democrats have their way in the House.

“I think the bankruptcy provision goes right to the heart of helping people who are in trouble," Pelosi said. "Let’s see if they can get it through the Senate, that’s where the legislative process is right now."