What: All Issues : Housing : Funding for Housing Programs : HR 384. (Mortgage-backed securities buyout conditions) Frank of Massachusetts amendment that would require some bailout money to be committed for foreclosure mitigation/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 384. (Mortgage-backed securities buyout conditions) Frank of Massachusetts amendment that would require some bailout money to be committed for foreclosure mitigation/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 19     Jan 15, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Barney Frank, D-Mass., that would require the Treasury Department to commit between $40 billion and $100 billion to ensure renters living in a building being foreclosed upon would be protected.  The amendment was offered to a bill that would create new conditions on the use of some $700 billion in funding to purchase certain “toxic” mortgage assets weighing down the balance books of banks and companies.  This “bailout” money is intended to help ease a credit crunch that is stifling business across the nation.

The amendment also would allow Treasury to apply the bill’s executive compensation restrictions retroactively to institutions that have already received assistance under the program.

Republicans spent most of their time assailing the $700 billion in bailout funding in general, rather than Frank’s amendment.  Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, complained that the money allows Congress to pick winners and losers.

“Now, I don’t want to see the auto companies fail. Nobody in America does. But name me an industry in America that isn’t struggling. Is Congress so wise that they can decide which industries are deserving the taxpayer bailout and which aren’t?” Hensarling said.  “And if it’s the auto industry today, is it the airlines industry tomorrow? Who is it next week? Again, how can everybody who’s struggling bail out everybody else who’s struggling?”
Frank said Hensarling is simply wrong.

“Now, it doesn’t get specific as to institutions. It shouldn’t. We don’t pick institutions here. We empower them and direct them, in some cases, to deal with the whole economy and with classes of institutions. There is no selection here by Congress of this or that company or even line of business,” Frank said, then suggested that it was the Bush administration that decided where the first raft of funding should go, including to automakers.

“It becomes clear that for many in the minority this is an opportunity to punish Barack Obama for the mistakes made by George Bush,” Frank said.

By a vote of 275-152, the amendment was adopted.  All but 10 Democrats present voted for the amendment.  Of Republicans present, 33 voted for the amendment and 142 voted against it.  The end result is that the measure went forward with an amendment that would provide funding for foreclosure mitigation for renters and apply executive compensation restrictions retroactively.

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