President Obama used his State of the Union address last night to challenge Congress to pass his proposed refinancing initiative.
In his speech, the president claimed that ‘our housing market is healing’ and that ‘homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.’ But despite this scenario, Obama stated that Americans continue to find obstacles in their pursuit of homeownership.
‘But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected,’ Obama said. ‘Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That's holding our entire economy back.
‘We need to fix it,’ Obama added. ‘Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. So what are we waiting for? Take a vote and send me that bill. Why would that be a partisan issue, helping folks refinance? Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process and help our economy grow.’
In the Republican response to the president's speech, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., concentrated on efforts to shrink federal spending and only briefly mentioned housing in a historical perspective.
‘This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it's just not true,’ Rubio said. ‘In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.’
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who offered a Tea Party response to the State of the Union speech, made no mention of housing-related issues.