President Obama made a relatively rare acknowledgment of housing issues in his weekly address on Saturday, claiming that the housing market is ‘healing,’ while blaming Republicans in Congress for trying to stall a full-scale recovery.
‘Back in February,’ Obama said, ‘I sent Congress a plan to give every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at lower rates. It's a plan that has the support of independent, nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry. But Republicans in Congress worked to keep it from even getting to a vote. And here we are, seven months later, still waiting on Congress to act.
‘This makes no sense,’ Obama continued. ‘Last week, mortgage rates were at historic lows. But instead of helping more and more hardworking families take advantage of those rates, Congress was away on break. Instead of worrying about you, they'd already gone home to worry about their campaigns.’
Although he stated the housing market was in the process of ‘healing,’ Obama added that it would ‘take a while for our housing market to fully recover.’ He also noted the fourth anniversary of the 2008 economic meltdown by spreading blame for the crisis on both the financial services industry and consumers.
‘Millions of Americans who did the right and responsible thing – who shopped for a home, secured a mortgage they could afford, and made their payments on time – were badly hurt by the irresponsible actions of others,’ he said. ‘By lenders who sold loans to families who couldn't afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn't afford them. By speculators who were looking to make a quick buck. And by banks that packaged and sold those risky mortgages for phony profits.’
The Republican response to the president's address was delivered by Arizona congressional candidate Vernon Parker, who focused on economic problems created by a federal government that ‘won't get out of the way [of] employers who want to hire and workers who want to work.’