Senate Rejects Bankruptcy Relief For Homeowners

It's unfortunate that the Obama administration was unable (and apparently unmotivated) to win Senate approval of a proposal to allow bankruptcy courts to modify the terms of mortgage notes.

In recent weeks, major banks and bank trade associations worked closely with Senate Republicans to stop the measure. Twelve Democrats joined all the Republicans in voting against it.

Relief for troubled financial institutions: no problem. Relief for financially troubled homeowners: can't do it. Way to go, Dems.

Soon we'll learn whether the financial industry has enough Senate clout to kill another bill favored by the Obama administration (and about which the administration has been more vocal). The bill, passed yesterday by the House and popular with just about everyone who carries a credit card, would limit credit card interest rates and fees while "requiring banks to apply consumers’ payments to balances with the highest interest rates first." [more ...]

A relatively simple provision of the bill, if enacted, will make life easier for credit card users who prefer not to pay their balances with electronic funds transfers. It would "require statements to be mailed at least 21 days before the payment due date, up from 14 days." Taking a two week vacation risks missing a credit card payment under current law.

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    "Unfortunate" (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by lentinel on Fri May 01, 2009 at 04:44:13 AM EST
    Another mild adjective to describe an atrocity.

    Obama didn't do anything to mobilize public opinion to help pass this bill. He found time to do so for his bailout bills.

    It's worse than "unfortunate".
    It helps define the reality of the Obama administration.

    And we're supposed to applaud Obama et al for giving Specter a new lease on life? So he could vote against this bill as a Democrat?

    To use the NYTimes tea-party phrase, it is "disquieting".

    What will it take to shake us out of our reverie?

    Nauseating! Obscene! (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jacob Freeze on Fri May 01, 2009 at 05:06:34 AM EST
    I agree with lentinel that "unfortunate" is an understatement, so how about...

    Disgusting! Loathsome! Sick! Repulsive! Ugly! Contemptible! Lousy! Nasty! Sleazy! Slimy! Vile! Shabby! Mean! Gross! Heinous! Rotten! Stinking! Hope! Change We Can Believe In!


    Of the choice above, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by lentinel on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:06:31 AM EST
    "stinking" would be my choice.

    My point is that if we who are angry at the behavior of our government cannot find a means to express it, we simply will go on coping with it.


    I see our newly minted democrat (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by lucky leftie on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:56:29 AM EST
    the weasely Arlen Specter opposed this, as well as the budget.  Would someone please explain to me why our party leadership is gushing over the defection of this self-serving opportunist?  I only hope he is primaried by a real democrat.  

    Do you have a link to the (none / 0) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:03:28 AM EST
    Roll Call for this?

    My google skills are primitive and I have been unable to find it.

    Our party leadership may be gushing over this because they agree with Specter on these issues and he gives them cover.


    The Senate Roll Call (none / 0) (#7)
    by caseyOR on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:16:56 AM EST
    Here is a link to the Roll Call.

    12 Democrats voted against cramdown, including our newest Dem. senator, the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania. McCaskill voted in favor of the bill, if you're wondering.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:56:59 AM EST
    Definitely was interested on how McCaskill voted on this.

    Good for Claire. She has a long way to go to win back my vote due to her votes for FISA and Iraq. It is doable. All she needs to do is vote like this (like a real Democrat) from now until she is up for reelection.


    That's not all she needs to do. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by oldpro on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:17:22 AM EST
    Curious (none / 0) (#44)
    by MO Blue on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:46:33 PM EST
    What else do you think she needs to do other than vote correctly on the issues?

    Specter (none / 0) (#79)
    by Sporty on Fri May 01, 2009 at 03:26:06 PM EST
    If you remember Emanuel and Obama stated that they were going to move the democrat party to the center (right)..

    By the way I see it with the blue dogs in the senate and house we are already to the center right..

    When you have Blue dog (republicans) campaigning for republicans and against Obama in the election of 2008, I will never call them democrats..

    If all democrats would have been behind Lamont "our democrat candidate in 2006"  ,,  republican Lieberman would not be in the senate today supporting the republicans and McCain..

    They should have given Clinton's senate seat to Caroline Kennedy a true democrat instead of republican supporter  Gillibrand  which is widely considered to be a centrist Democrat or do they really mean a centrist republican..

    Our elected democrat leaders are more interested in leaning to the republicans then their main stream voters..  This is why they are taking in republicans like Specter to pick up republican votes so they can ditch the left..  The democrats would have never been able to pull the tricks in the past as they are doing now to their progressive voters..

    The left is singled out by the republicans , news media and now democrats because they are the ones bringing the criminal and corrupted actions and policies of our government..  

    If the blue dogs in the senate vote with the republican party then the republican party has the majority.

    With Specter and the blue dogs it gives the republicans over 55 or more votes.

    To me it looks like they would control the senate..

    We need to start now picking a democrat to run against then at the end of their term


    "Centrist republican" Gillibrand voted (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by nycstray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 05:10:19 PM EST
    in the people's favor. She also represents all of NY now, not just a red district.

    CK was something of a train wreck. If she really wants to be a NY senator, she can get out there and get involved. Perhaps run for a lesser office to get some experience and get her campaign chops down.


    vote's a joke (none / 0) (#85)
    by diogenes on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:18:33 PM EST
    They knew the outcome and those from conservative states voted against as CYA.  Gillebrand did the opposite.  You don't know how someone would really vote until they are the deciding vote.
    You all call Specter a weasel, but changing his position on a bill a week after changing who he caucuses with is much more weasely.

    It would be (none / 0) (#87)
    by cal1942 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:35:35 PM EST
    hard to find such a test.  "Casting the deciding vote" is a matter of interpretation.  The roll call is alphabetical.

    Gillebrand's vote is what it is, a yea vote on an issue generally supported by people who describe themselves as liberals.


    Lieberman? (none / 0) (#86)
    by cal1942 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:31:59 PM EST
    Lieberman would not be in the senate today supporting the republicans and McCain..

    Lieberman voted with 44 other Democrats FOR the bill.

    I'm not crazy about Lieberman either and say what you want about him, but, on many issues he's a reliable liberal vote.


    I knew it was doomed when the SCUM (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by tokin librul on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:02:00 AM EST
    SCUM = So Called Unbiased Media

    picked up the "cram-down" meme preferred by the banksters.

    and Obama will NEVER oppose them...

    To be fair, (none / 0) (#43)
    by TChris on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:45:23 PM EST
    "cram down" is a term that has long been part of bankruptcy law -- it isn't something the banking crowd invented.

    Does someone have a link (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:08:11 AM EST
    to what the actual legislation was?  I am fine with better interest rates being negotiated.  I'm not for any legislation though that penalizes those of us who did not overbuy a house, or refi our houses into the depths of hell and then blow wads of money.  In a nutshell I am not for principal being written down!  I realize that a lot of predatory lending took place but I also witnessed so many people living completely beyond their means and I will not reward that sort of behavior while at the same time penalizing those of us who lived realistically through all of this insanity!

    The price of everything else (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Steve M on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:52:33 AM EST
    already has a "bankruptcy premium" built in.

    Which is to say, virtually every other type of debt besides a mortgage is already subject to renegotiation or cancellation in the bankruptcy process.  So any time you buy on credit or take out a loan, at least in theory your rate is a tiny bit higher to compensate the lender for those other people who won't have to pay their full debt thanks to the bankruptcy system.

    Of course, it might not be other people, and therein lies the rub.  It could be YOU.  While many bankruptcies are caused by irresponsible personal behavior, many are not.  All of us (except maybe kdog, who seems to exist without any assets or liabilities) are at risk of a sudden bad stroke of fate.  Elizabeth Warren says an alarmingly high percentage of bankruptcies are attributable to medical expenses.

    What a tragedy to have an unanticipated medical calamity, and then to find out on top of everything else that you're going to lose your home because even declaring bankruptcy won't help reduce that mortgage payment.  If I'm paying an extra eighth of a point or whatever due to a bankruptcy premium, I can live with that.  I'm willing to make that sacrifice to protect my neighbor against disaster, and if it's me that ends up having the bad luck, I'll be very glad my neighbors were willing to do it for me.


    Another example (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by andgarden on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:03:45 AM EST
    of how our lack of national healthcare raises costs for everyone!

    Add to that (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jbindc on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:09:55 AM EST
    While I don't have a mortgage, I do have credit card debt.  Now, I made these debts and I fully expect to pay them and have the credit card issuer make some money in interest. I always pay my bills, and most of the time, I pay more than the minimum balance.  But the ba$tards at BoA jacked up my interest rate on a card from 15% to 25% and doubled my payment because one time I was one day late in making a payment. So, now I can't pay more than the minimum, which means they are going to be making money off me and these predatory practices for a long time.

    Have you called them up to negotiate? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by andgarden on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:18:52 AM EST
    This is something you should ALWAYS do.

    I tried a few months ago (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:34:53 AM EST
    Maybe I should give it another try.

    Me too with BofA (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:20:38 AM EST
    They seem to be the worst at that. I paid off my BofA card as soon as I was able, and have not used it since.

    They called me yesterday with a marketing call to try to get me to transfer balances to that card. I told the lady that they were charging me usurious rates after the teaser rate was up, and that it was ridiculous. She did lower my default rate by 7%, so go ahead and give them a call and see what you can do.


    I would have trusted the bankruptcy (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:17:40 AM EST
    judges to decide who is a good candidate for this relief. Having it prohibited by law takes away that option even for the deserving.

    This will lead to a lot more foreclosures, which benefits no one, even those of us who have bought our houses repsonsibly.

    I think it's very shortsighted, and Obama should have pused for it harder. The way he handled it he can claim credit for being for it, and try to escape blame for it not having passed.


    How about programs resembling HOLC (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:33:16 AM EST
    that cramdown the whole inflated housing market and don't friggin penalize me friggin specifically?

    There is so much room for (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:10:36 AM EST
    abuse with the current 'help for homeowners' implementation. Since you can't qulaify for the program if you are current on your mortgage, people are stopping making payments not because they are in dire circumstances, but because they want to try to renogotiate their loans.

    I agree the whole thing is a mess.


    Not to seem like I'm throwing up my hands (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:23:14 AM EST
    I do think a judges should be able to figure out what is right in each individual case, and now they can't. I also wish there was some sort of mediation available pre-bankruptcy, and pre-brink-of-forceclosure.  

    But if even this bankruptcy change could not pass I see se are at the end of any kind of help for homedebtors. I guess that iwll make a lot of people happy, even as it sinks the economy.


    Have you ever (none / 0) (#88)
    by cal1942 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:42:23 PM EST
    considered the fact that more foreclosures will lower the market value of your home?

    My daughter bought (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by hairspray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:27:23 PM EST
    a house that was a stretch.  However, she was buying in a hot market when there was no negotiating room, in fact prices were being bid up so she took what she could get in a good school district.  In fact, she even had her best friend and her two kids living with her.  My daugher's salary has dropped about 10% and her friend's salary has  remained flat these three years.  Also the call that my daughter could take on one or two weekends per month has gone  with the regulars keeping the call hours for themselves. I don't see her as a couch potato who took advantage of the system and I think there are lots like her. If we are going to point to the consumers of these loans  I am more upset by the real estate entepreneurs who bought and flipped house left and right.

    Ironically (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:31:31 PM EST
    Flippers and those who bought houses as real estate investments, never intending to live in them, can do cramdown.

    You are just full of misleading information (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:18:45 PM EST
    aren't you?  Only a primary residence is offered certain protections that would encourage the home being able to remain the residence during a private bankruptcy....investment homes have no chance of having such legal protections during a bankruptcy.....they are just assets/liabilities and treated as such.

    Really? (none / 0) (#75)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:54:59 PM EST
    what protections are those?

    I thought it was the opposite (none / 0) (#84)
    by waldenpond on Fri May 01, 2009 at 05:34:14 PM EST
    Primary residences not eligible for cramdowns as that would be 'moral hazard' and second homes etc are considered investments/liabilities.  I tend to look at our country not as a Representative Govt but a Corpocracy... nvestments/assets are negotiated in bankruptcy to repair a persons credit and encourage them to keep investing and building wealth.   It makes no sense that our system would seize the assets of a wealthy individual.

    You are kidding. Right? (none / 0) (#63)
    by hairspray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:35:05 PM EST
    I wish I was (none / 0) (#67)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:41:42 PM EST
    Primary residences are the only types of loans not eligible for cramdown.

    The bill does not "automatically" (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by NYShooter on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:57:02 PM EST
    write down principal. My understanding is that it merely gives the judge the authority, on a case by case basis, to draw down the principal, but not below current market values.

    This was a well thought out bill, and in looking over the list of Dems who voted against it, I'm pretty sure, had Obama and Geithner made the slightest effort, many of them could have been switched.

    Finally, whether you agree with the bill or not, I think the point has been made regarding whose side Obama/Geithner or on.

    Hint: It's not you.


    I am (none / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:13:47 AM EST
    In a nutshell I am not for principal being written down!

    I am for principal being written down.  Especially if the value of the home has dropped.  But in any case, lenders don't make money from repayment of the principal.  It's the interest over a 30/20/10 year period that they're drooling over.  If they want to make that interest they can darn well work with the courts.

    The value of my home has dropped too (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:28:44 AM EST
    but I made certain I could afford the payment.  So I just get to pay more huh because I'm a planner and a super responsible person and always plan for the worst case scenario.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by sj on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:37:01 AM EST
    Just as I do. I also pay more because others were better at negotiating the price of their homes than I was.  I also earn less than some others because they were better at negotiating their salary than I was.

    Those things may seem like non sequitors and maybe they are.  But my feeling is that I don't want to make doing right by some one facing hardship be contingent on whether it's fair to me.  Life isn't fair. So what?  So far my life has been good (or so I feel today).

    For the record, my situation is the same as yours.  I have had my home since 1988 (refi in 2000) and I have never been late with a mortgage payment so this does not benefit me personally at all.  

    But then again, I have not experienced a medical crises or devastating job loss and had to face bankruptcy full-on.  Should that happen (God forbid) I would like to know that my lender would be legally bound to work with the bankruptcy judge.  

    This is my home.  It's not my investment.  It's not my bill.  It's not my obligation.  It's my home.  Losing one's home makes them homeless.  Who does that serve?


    A lot of people are facing hardship (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:47:58 AM EST
    because they refused to live in or acknowledge reality.  This is a free country and by being so it is expected that we will all learn from our mistakes and thereby won't require a Big Brother or Big Mother.  I completely disagree.  I'm fine with people filing for bankruptcy but they don't get to keep the house for a cheaper price.....period...end of discussion.  Legislators are not going to deal with anger like mine either because it isn't just anger.....it's outrage.  Why?  I conducted my life in a principled manner before this, during this, and after this and I bet the number of my kind who show up at the polls every single time it's time to vote is staggering compared to the individuals who could only focus on having a really really good time all on credit when they could get away with it.

    with three edits (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:51:25 PM EST
    I can make this post into a Glenn Beck monologue:

    A lot of people are facing hardship because they refused to live in or acknowledge reality.  This is a free country and by being so it is expected that we will all learn from our mistakes and thereby won't require a Big Brother or Big Mother.  I completely disagree.  I'm fine with people filing for welfare but they don't get to free money from the government .....period...end of discussion.  Legislators are not going to deal with anger like mine either because it isn't just anger.....it's outrage.  Why?  I conducted my life in a principled manner before this, during this, and after this and I bet the number of my kind who show up at the polls every single time it's time to vote is staggering compared to the individuals who could only focus on having a really really good time all on taxpayer money when they could get away with it.

    Actually I probably didn't need to make those three edits.  Apologies for picking on you but I get very weary of the sentiment you are expressing.  

    1.  As has been noted as naseum, the vast majority of bankruptcies occur because of divore, medical emergency or job losses.  the people who are filing now - most all of them - are victims of the current economic crisis.  you say you made sure you could pay your payments - well could you say the same if you lost your job?  or had to pay $5000 a month in hospital bills?  probably not.

    2. you pay IF PEOPLE GO INTO FORECLOSURE.  it makes your home's value drop, ups the crime rate in your neighborhood and causes banks to restrict credit and up rates for everyone else.  You'll probably pay less - and have a more stable neighborhood - with cramdown.

    3.  we currently have all sorts of government programs that help people when they make less than desirable choices but we do that because it's better to help them a little than leave them to suffer the total consequences.  Namely drug and alcohol treatment, food stamps, welfare, etc.  one could say the same things about those programs as you do about cramdown.  it's better to give someone dinner or help them stay in their homes than have a lot of malnourished homeless on the streets.  Further, i would argue that there are a lot of choices you probably think are beneficial that you made that I still have to pay for - why should I pay for your kids' school?  because it's better for society!

    4. the cramdown bill contained all sorts of protections - mediation, having to go through other programs, the judge - not the homeowner - has the final say.  People dont' go into bankruptcy lightly.

    5. finally, your outrage seems to be because you have a stereotype of mcmansion owners looking for a free ride.  Well that's a terrible reason to do any sort of public policy.  conservatives have a lot of stereotyping driving their public policy choices too (against brown people, women who want reproductive freedom, any body different from them at all).  I'd hope we'd do better.

    Such Bull...Glenn Beck my arse (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:10:46 PM EST
    What I'm talking about is exactly the reason that cramdown didn't go through and probably won't go through.  Go ahead and get weary of the sentiment, because it's reality.  If cramdown does go through in such a way that it discriminates against people like me there will be total outrage!

    Sure (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:25:50 PM EST
    the fact that conservatives were able to demagogue this issue enough to suck in moderate democrats (with the help of the banksters) was the reason this bill failed.  it's the reason a lot of good progressive legislation fails.  But it's not a good reason.

    Ummmm,......that would be the left meme (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:31:52 PM EST
    of the leftwing that wanted this pushed through.  It's the issues for me.  We have to find a way to help everyone that doesn't discriminate against those who have been very financially careful.  Of course the banksters want this to fail. They will also want any versions that don't discriminate against me to fail as well.  Just because they want this fail doesn't automatically mean I want it to pass or I feel it benefits the country.  Put through legislation that only give judges the rights to renegotiate interest and extend the loans out so that payments are affordable and I'm all for that!

    Further (none / 0) (#65)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:39:05 PM EST
    another part of the bill that I think you missed - it's only retroactive.  So there isn't an incentive for people to take out bad loans in the future.  And there is no evidence it would have any impact on existing rates.  IE it would not affect you or "discriminate" against you.  Now a few of your neighbors in foreclosure probably would ....

    Again, people make choices all the time that I would consider to be "bad" and I guess I could argue that helping them or mitigating the effects of those bad choices discriminates against me.  But the larger society benefits.  


    I didn't miss that part (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:14:59 PM EST
    There aren't any bad loans to be had out there anyhow.  There are ethical rules to finance and business, ethical rules about torturing, ethical rules about engagement.  This sort of cramdown is unethical.

    Then the whole idea of bankruptcy (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 03:16:33 PM EST
    is unethical. Someone is always getting 'crammed down' in a bankruptcy. Without this law, about the only ones immune are banks holding mortgages.

    And (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:27:16 PM EST
    If public education goes through in such a way that it hurts childless people like me, there will be total outrage!

    if welfare legislation goes through in a way that hurts employed people like me, there will be total outrage!

    if health reform goes through in a way that hurts healthly people like me, there will be total outrage!


    Fine..........protest (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:34:56 PM EST
    I don't think you should have to pay for my child's education either.  If you feel that welfare hurts workers.......bring your arguments forward and protest.  If you feel that healthcare hurts your own health.......bring your arguments forward and protest.  I'm not afraid of discussing hard things.

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#66)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:39:45 PM EST
    I'm being sarcastic.  I don't mind paying for such things because I know that we are all better off when we do.  

    It's your double-standard I'm protesting.


    I have no double standard (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:12:13 PM EST
    You are only attempting to slap that labeling on me.  I have clearly stated why I am against cramming down mortgage principal but I'm not against aiding homeowners in other ways.  Keep attempting to slap labels on me though in hopes of it silencing me.  It won't work but knock yourself out.

    There is no distinction (none / 0) (#74)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:52:09 PM EST
    between altering principle or altering interest rates.  either way, the person will be paying less than they had originally agreed to.  so that distinction is frankly a little silly.

    your double standard is that you seem to be against this particular effort to help people who are in trouble because you disagree with their choices (nevermind that in the vast majority of cases, they are in those situations because of circumstances beyond their control).  I'm simple pointing out that for consistency sake, you should be opposed to many other progressive ideas as well.  

    So in summation - the policy distinction between changing principle or interest is silly leaving just perception and stereotyping which is frankly wrong-headed.


    A lot of people are facing hardship (none / 0) (#36)
    by sj on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:54:46 AM EST
    for reasons that have nothing to do with an inability to acknowledge reality.  Happens I know three households that had to deal with bankruptcy.  None of them fit your profile.  

    Your outrage makes my despair and sadness for them even greater.  Period.  End of discussion.


    There is a certain dishonesty in your post (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:01:22 PM EST
    The people who took on crazy mortgages and ramped the crud out of their credit cards get zero sympathy from me.

    Perhaps so (none / 0) (#38)
    by sj on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:12:04 PM EST
    But in my mind there is a dishonesty and blindness in yours.  Likely it is because we are looking in different directions in this and can never see what the other is seeing.

    And this really is the end of my discussion with you.


    There is no blindness (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:39:47 PM EST
    in my post.  I haven't had a bit of "blindness" in financial dealings since I was a punk kid.  I have had sooooooooo many challenges these past eight years and I still made sound financial decisions.  Where are people's savings at this time?  Did they have six months wages saved and are now filing bankruptcy?  Did they have no savings outside of emergency savings. If so...... you still don't get free assets that other financially responsible have to pay for, and responsible Americans will not stand for any of this cram down on mortgage principals.  It doesn't matter if you like it or not, that's the way it is.  Fix the interest rates.....extend the loan out so that it can be afforded....but that's it.....people need to learn from their mistakes or we go HOLC.  I WILL NOT BE DISCRIMATED AGAINST SO TOUGH TOENAILS!

    What if they did so (none / 0) (#39)
    by bocajeff on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:31:20 PM EST
    and at the time they could afford the house and all the debt. Then, to no fault of their own, they get fired or laid off, someone gets ill, a divorce or death, etc...There are many reasons people find themselves in trouble.

    Do you think people who are dying of lung cancer due to smoking should get government assistance? Or how about an obese person? Or a skier who hits a tree?


    I'm fine with people getting free healthcare (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:33:30 PM EST
    but not free assets outside of food, healthcare, and basic shelter.  If you want fancy shelter you are responsible for that fully.

    See, this is where it confuses the issue (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Cream City on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:54:09 PM EST
    as in some of your posts, you use blanket statements that suggest you mean all these homeowners in danger of foreclosure are the same.  Then in other posts, you are specific about those who were foolish and overmortgaged on fancy houses.

    I am going to assume, from all I've read from you here, that you would want my future son-in-law to have help in keeping his home -- a little two-br, one-bath bungalow for him and his son.  He is a single father, a blue-collar worker laid off from his factory job now -- a factory job for years because he could not finish college because of the following -- and already deeply in debt for major surgery for a chronic health condition that also requires frequent medical checkups,  prescriptions, and outpatient treatments.

    The reason he had to have the major surgery?  It was when he was laid off before, from the post-9/11 recession, and the only way that he could keep up his house payments was to skip the frequent medical checkups, prescriptions, and outpatient treatments.

    Oh, and if he loses his home, he could lose joint custody of his son (with a not-very-nice ex who can afford fancy lawyers and in a very conservative county that has crazy family court).  Why in the world would we want to do that to the kid, even if for some reason you think his dad did something to deserve this mess created by the masters of the universe?


    I'm fine with a program creation that (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:07:31 PM EST
    helps those with such medical disabiities. Bankruptcy that isn't about medical stresses though, I can't even get my mind around it.  We deal with medical stresses in this house too all the time.  We pay many things out of pocket for our son outside of his basic healthcare.  At this time I can't have a career. We are a one career family and we have hung on for dear life at times though not often financially because I don't take buying anything lightly.  I have lived extremely responsibly while having a disabled child, gone through Iraq deployments while so few made such choices and even ridiculed and humiliated my family because of it's integrity and commitment and now I'm supposed to fund THE insanity of others?  I can't be the only person who feels this way either.  

    That's all you needed to do, then (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Cream City on Fri May 01, 2009 at 04:34:04 PM EST
    -- not lump them all together, and talk more about all of them and their situations.

    And note, perhaps, that there may be more than medical situations that cause unforeseen crises that could catapult a family into homelessness and poverty for want of a few hundreds dollars to meet mortgage payments.  There are many people who are willing and able to pay something each month now, if they can renegotiate, and often with the understanding that once back to work or past the devastating stage of fiscal crises, they would take the mortgage rate back up to where it was.

    You are far from alone in having medical crises and conditions in your family, in your children, etc.  But there are many other reasons, as well I also know -- for single mothers, say, abandonment or divorce with no child support -- that can suddenly affect lives of hardworking and sensible people.  Bankruptcy court judges would be far more likely than you or I to understand the range of causes, beyond our own personal experiences, so the bill was reasonable in allowing them to determine those cases deserving of a break.


    A huge number (none / 0) (#89)
    by cal1942 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:32:55 PM EST
    of mortgages were trick mortgages.  Most buyers felt they could afford the payments and could initially.  Many of these people were creditworthy people who could afford a fair mortgage but got scammed. The trickier the mortgage the higher the commission.  

    Most of these people are the victims of scam mortgages, job loss, medical expenses, etc. Few of these people bought McMansions.

    And who is it that's making you pay more?

    I also planned for any contingency and did so in part by living below my income, but, I was very fortunate to earn enough to be able to live decently in spite of that plan, for far too many people that's simply not possible.  It's those people for whom I'm deeply concerned.

    I have no problem whatsoever giving assistance to insure that people can stay in their homes.

    More foreclosures will lower the value of your home even more.  In the long run foreclosures do none of us any good.

    If you want to get angry, get angry at the finance industry whose greed brought us to this.  If you want to get angry, get angry at the politicians who allowed banks to become river boat gamblers and usurors and the regulators who didn't regulate and the Presidents who appointed people to regulatory positions who didn't believe in regulation.  If you want to get angry get angry at the Federal Reserve for doing everything possible to create a bubble that bloated the cost of housing and put so many on the edge.


    trick mortgage? (none / 0) (#92)
    by Iamme on Mon May 04, 2009 at 10:40:24 AM EST
    Did you not read the terms of the mortgage?  You are signing up for hundreds of thousands of dollars and you didnt read the terms.  Please.  The biggest purchase of your life and what they wrote it in Chinese while holding a gun to your head?  Not buying this at all.

    Constiutent or Lobbyist (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Saul on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:24:48 AM EST
    The denial is the classic example of who is more important.  Forget that Senators and Congressman main allegiance should be the people of their district.  Forget that they have the audacity to say no because they cave in to the bank lobbyist who have just had their ass saved by the taxpayers.

    Is this really a surprise? (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:36:21 AM EST
    Considering they did not try to address the employment crisis last september, october, november, december.  When they did address it, it was woefully inadequate.  As I said in October, out of work home owners are the sacrificial lambs.  They screwed us in 2005 on the bankruptcy bill and they are screwing middle class again.

    And it is not party specific both parties are cashing their checks, using their healthcare plans, having lunch and dinner on lobbyists dimes and middle america is struggling mightily.

    The bankers are laughing all the way to the bank.....

    And, the tax reduction for millions (none / 0) (#24)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:06:04 AM EST
    seems to have some problems for those who need the break the most, as well.

    Just what I don't need (none / 0) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:59:38 PM EST
    Per Inspector Gadget's link above on who might be faced with income tax bills for '09.

    retirees who have federal income taxes withheld from their pension payments

    Of course, I might not have a pension by then to be taxed.


    Whenever any politician (none / 0) (#90)
    by cal1942 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:43:34 PM EST
    cuts taxes the average Joe or Jane suffer.

    I'm absolutely sick of 'tax cut' as a political pitch.

    In my state a three term right-wing governor boasted about his tax cut record.  He completely squandered the state's rainy day fund and filched highway funds to support still other tax cuts.

    It's raining now, we're broke and the roads are crumbling.


    As usual (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Iamme on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:50:03 AM EST
    Simple fix to this.  No taxpayer dollars involved.
    Allow the bankruptcy judges to ammend the interest rate and extend the life of the loan.  The banks still get their interest it just takes them longer to collect it.  Seems like a fair penalty on the banks who shouldnt have loaned the money under those terms in the first place. The homeowner gets a reduced payment they can afford to make only they have to make the payment for a longer period of time.  Seems like a fair punishment for those that took the money they knew they couldnt pay back at those terms.  

    But alas no.  The energy was spent on torture gate.  There is much more return for the American public for spending time on torture gate than actually doing something for the people that elected him, the people that pay taxes, the people that tought they were voting for change.  Only some Americans will not get to see the outcome.  They will not have a house to put their TV in.  The emperor has no clothes.

    As a homeowner (none / 0) (#32)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:39:21 AM EST
    what is my incentive to pay even longer on a house that is not worth the amount of my loan? Unless I plan to live in that house for the rest of my life, why not walk away from a house I can never sell for enough to pay off the mortgage? If I'm in bankruptcy court in the first place, my credit is already wrecked.  

    Not allowing write-downs of the principal is just delaying the inevitable. It may be a good strategy for putting the brakes on the foreclosures temporarily, I'll give you that.


    Your house is in trouble (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:50:46 AM EST
    Do you want your house?  Take this offer or leave the house. I can agree with this solution 1000% because people have to be responsible for the credit decisions they made.  It's time Americans got money smart again instead of acting like a bunch of juveniles with a credit card.

    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:15:16 PM EST
    And what good does it do my neighborhood or the economy as a whole if I just leave the house to foreclosure, if maybe adjusting my principal by 20k would keep me in the house?

    I understand it does not seem fair, but, just to use my own home as an example this time,  the bank is now holding an asset that has depreciated by about 70k. Why not work with me on that when I am willing to share the depreciation?


    Personally, I think that (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:19:34 PM EST
    rolling back the principle on all houses purchased or refinanced during the height of the false boom years at least 20% would be a very smart thing for our economy. Call it a "correction" the way we do when the stock market plummets because it went outside realism.

    Good point but still (none / 0) (#64)
    by sleepingdogs on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:37:27 PM EST
    In your hypothetical, you are already in bankruptcy court.  If you are not suffering this impending foreclosure because of a job loss, medical bills, divorce or other change of circumstances, are you only there to have the principal on your mortgage reduced?  In other words, you can still afford the payments you signed up for, you just want them reduced because your home isn't worth as much?  

    Also, would a judge allow a principal reduction on that basis?

    If you walk away from your current home and let it go back to the bank, where will you live?  Should another bank give you a mortgage?  

    I am not trying to be disrespectful, I am just trying to understand.


    The judge should have the option (none / 0) (#68)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:44:58 PM EST
    if he thinks the individual circumstances warrant it. Maybe I can afford my payments now, but my husband is terminally ill. There are all kinds of circumstances that a judge should be able to look at. Why are we taking an option off the table?

    In my hypothetical, I am never buying another house again. Of course no bank should ever give me another mortgage. There are several houses for rent on my block alone right now - all as nice as mine - that I could rent for about 70% of my current mortgage payment.


    Changing some of my views (none / 0) (#53)
    by Iamme on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:22:06 PM EST
    I am an open minded person.  My reaction to this type of talk is not suitable for this blog.  

    You bought the house knowing full well the value could go up and could go down.  So lets say we write down the principal from $150K to 100K.  You stay in the house 8 years and then sell it for $150K.  I will bet the shirt off my back you want to keep the 50K don't you.  Well the taxpayer is not going to give you that option.  

    Using your argument "It not worth what it once was".  Every American should immediately get a value write down on every car they buy.  It loses value the day you drive it off the lot.  So I should be able to buy the car drive around the block and go immediately back to the dealer and demand a new deal on the "reduced" value?  There are several things getting under my skin lately and this is one of the top three.  I screwed up YOU pay for me.  Cannot get on that side of the fence.  Never will.


    Not the same with a car (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:32:33 PM EST
    The auto industry has not spent the last 40 years, in particular the last 20,  selling the customer the lie that a house always appreciates in value, and is always a good investment, the way the real estate industry, aided by the banks,  and our government have.

    And the bank bought the house the same time I did. They were just as stupid as I was, maybe more. And I am bailing them out through my taxes. Why do they not have to share the loss in value?

    Again, I am not intending to do any of this myself. Just saying I don't blame people who do as much as lots of you here do.


    Not a lawyer (none / 0) (#69)
    by Iamme on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:07:36 PM EST
    I am not a lawyer so I am sure I dont understand fine print as well as some.  However, I have taken college math therefore I can certainly do the calculations.  Maybe you mis-spoke. The bank would get "a big chunk".  Assuming there is some chunk left then the homeowner gets the other chunk.  So 40K for the bank and 10K for the homeowner.

    You are missing the point.  

    The whole "they told us", "its been appreciating", the "auto industry never perpetuated increase in value".  Those arguments are lame "caveat emptor".  Buyer Beware.  You and the bank bought something at the value it was going for.  That is your problem and the banks.  It is not my problem.  I should not have to pay for it.  

    Now that we have addressed that lets do some basic math.

    I can afford $1300 a month for my housing needs.  I should go get a note that falls into that range.  If the value of my house changes to 10 million or 3 bucks I am still paying 1300. And wait its better the value of my house is lower so my tax debt is lessend so now I only pay $1100. I am $200 ahead of the game.  I only care about the intrinsic value if I want to sell it.  Its a bad time to sell right now.  DONT SELL.  

    Here is the rub.  You knew you could only afford $1300 and yet you got in over your head with some escalating percentage rate so you could live above your means the first several years.  My wife was a mortgage broker so I know how the escalating interest rate loans work.  Now its time to pay the piper and WHOA I NEED HELP.

    Details of the bill or not.  The math doesnt add up.  Those that are screaming are the ones that didnt follow the simple rule.  "If I cant afford it.  I cant buy it"


    If there are other mitigating circumstances (none / 0) (#73)
    by Iamme on Fri May 01, 2009 at 02:19:44 PM EST
    If there are some other circumstances then you have no choice but to procede into bankruptcy.  This will buy some creditor protection for a short while.  Not to sound cruel but the nation fails if we dont pay for our living expenses.  If you want to play you have to pay.  If your husband is ill where is the insurance?  Where is the long term disability?  There are many questions to be answered.  Life is tough.  Sell your house let it go and move into a place you can afford.  

    Call around there are other resources that are willing to help when its appropriate.  I appreciate the fact you want to stay in your house.  I want a bigger one but I cant pay for it.  

    Again as in my original thought.  I got into a situation.  YOU (the taxpayer) pay for me.  I say NO.


    There is no evidence (none / 0) (#77)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 03:02:13 PM EST
    That cramdown affects lending rates.  This is according to the studies that have been done on cramdown provisions on other types of loans.  Further, as cramdown in the Durbin bill is only retrospective, there is no reason it should have any impact at all on future lending.

    Further (again), if someone really did just buy an enormous house two years ago hoping that the housing market would collapse, democrats would be elected and cramdown would pass 1) that person should be studied by NASA, 2) a judge probably wouldn't alter the terms of their loans and 3) they'd still come out of bankruptcy with the scarlet B on their credit record.  folks don't go into bankrutpcy for kicks.


    What i'm talking about is trying to find (none / 0) (#80)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 03:44:47 PM EST
    the best solution for everyone in the terrible situation we are in as a nation, yes, due to people who made the wrong decisions and the banks that let them.  

    So, strictly as a business decision between me, the bank, and the government (taxpayers) what is the best solution? Say I owe the bank 200k and the market value of my house is 100k. And no analyst I have read thinks it will ever again have a market value of 200k.

    Option 1:  I walk away, and the bank sells the house on the open market for 100k, losing 100k.

    Option 2: I walk away and Timmy Geithner and the taxpayers buy that toxic asset for 200k, and resell it for 100k. Bank loses 0, taxpayers lose 100k.

    Option 3: I renegotiate my loan with the bank for 150k, with the stipulation that if I ever manage to sell for more than that the bank gets some or all of the profit. I'll even leave the interest rate the same.  Bank loses 50k, and I lose 50k if I have to sell the house for whatever reason. Taxpayers are not effected at all unless Geithner chooses to reimburse the banks for that 50k.

    Of course the banks are holding out for Option 2, or as close to it as they can come - why wouldn't they? But isn't Option 3 the best business decision for society as a whole?

    If we insist on laying blame, even as little as 20 years ago, banks would not have allowed this to happen. IMO, they deserve to take their lumps too.


    Can you explain why an interest (none / 0) (#82)
    by hairspray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 04:46:14 PM EST
    rate of 5.3% today should escalate to 11% next year even as the house loses 20% in value?  How is 11% a reality based figure?

    That's what (none / 0) (#91)
    by cal1942 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:56:46 PM EST
    happened to many of the people who ended up losing their homes.

    A house in our neghborhood sold in late 2003.  The initial rate was about 5%.  Early last year when the house was foreclosed the rate had gone up to 10.5%

    That's not even the worst of it.  There were a number of scam loan plans that put people behind the eight ball.

    The crumbier the loan the higher the commission.


    Those are not trick loans (none / 0) (#93)
    by Iamme on Mon May 04, 2009 at 10:49:09 AM EST
    They are called ARM's.  If you read it you would find.  There was an escalation clause in it that was spelled out.  

    It went something like this.  

    Buyer:  I want that 300K house.
    Lender: You cant afford it.
    Buyer:  I must have it.
    Lender: We have an escalating loan product.
    Buyer: Does that mean I can live there?
    Lender: Yes but the terms go up after a period of time.
    Buyer: Lets do it.  I must have it.

    Lender ok so in year 1 your interest rate is 2%.  In year three it goes to 5% and in year 5 it goes to 13% to make up for the previous years you got it cheap.

    Buyer:  I dont care I must live there now.

    There was no trick.  Your greed got you into a house you could not afford.  The bank also screwed up letting you have it.  So yes the bank was stupid but look in the mirror and you will see another one.

    Wife was a mortgage broker I know in excruciating detail how this worked.  The trickier mortgages didnt pay more.  It was always a percentage of the value of the house.  She never held a gun to anyones head and said sign this.  You did it of your own free will.  So stop the blame game and look in the mirror.


    What utter garbage (none / 0) (#94)
    by cal1942 on Mon May 04, 2009 at 12:24:48 PM EST
    I'm aware of what an ARM is.  I'm also well aware that many brokers failed to spell out the potential consequences.  Very low teaser rates were used to INDUCE buying. I'm aware as well that brokers DID get hugher commisions for TRICKY loans.  

    The ARM terms in many loans of the period were absolutely void of any reason for increase in interest rate.  A decade and a half ago the rate on ARMs were adjusted according to a fixed formula that was reasonable and clearly defined.

    Don't give us this crap that brokers caved to begging buyers several million times during that period.  What did happen was many brokers seeking anything with a pulse, bypassing any qualification criteria to write the loan. The loan was sold and bundled and sold again and again.

    You are asking us to believe that professionals were duped and/or were consistently totally incompetent or that millions of people somehow conspired to get professionals to cave in to a deal that the professional knew was an almost guaranteed loser for the ULTIMATE sucker --opps, lender.

    It was the originators and the people in the next level that brought this on, NOT buyers.

    Sell it to the dittoheads it doesn't fly here.


    clearly uneducated about this (none / 0) (#95)
    by Iamme on Mon May 04, 2009 at 12:50:07 PM EST
    Its not crap and for you sir to call it that indicates the level of intelligence on the topic.  

    A mortgage broker is there to provide a mortgage for a buyer.  There are many flavors of them.  Fixed rate (interest rate never changes) Hence fixed.  ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) Meaning the rate will adjust.  NOT IF.  WILL.  All terms explained to the masses.  For those that have signed a mortgage you surely must remember the rheems and rheems of documents.  It was all there very clearly spelled out.  The interest rate increases are spelled out in plain english.  

    Void of any reason for increase in interest rate?  Again you demonstrate your intelligence.  Why would any lending institution give you a mortgage at less than the going rate?  They are in business to make money.  You save some interest on the front end and pay it on the back end.  That is how the note is structured.

    I don't think ayone was duped.  You knew full well what you were doing.  You wanted the house you could not afford.  If I get a fixed note that does not change then the payment is higher on the front end and stays the same on the back end.

    Waaaa.  But then I cant get the house I want.  ARM - I can move in now.  I will worry about the extra $1000 in mortgage payment in 3 to 5 years.  Banks want their money.  But you want to be special and get it 3% less than everyone else.  Not gonna happen.  The banks will get their money.  Equal amounts along the way or a little now and alot later. Did you look at the amortization table that explains the interest and how the bank is going to get it?  Its all spelled out.  Void of any reason!  Point number two against your argument.

    You signed the paperwork with the escalation clauses in it.  I know several people who signed them and they surely knew the interest rate changes.  

    They like most wanted the big house and figured they would somehow "have the extra money" in 3 to 5 years to make the payment when it came due.  

    While some of my posts are opionion go look this  up and educate yourself so your greed does not overload your budget.  As I have said my wife was a mortgage broker. I am very familiar with the terms of an ARM loan.  Clearly you are not.


    failed to spell out (none / 0) (#96)
    by Iamme on Mon May 04, 2009 at 01:02:05 PM EST
    Let me try to respond to this part.  Teaser rates.  How old are you?  4?  Teaser rates are a part of every industry on the planet.  You can get such and such for two bucks.  Go to the store and OH you want the other one.  Well thats $129.  Grow up.  Implications?  Lets see when you were told that the payment today was $1000 and 3 years from now the payment will be $1800?  Did you not stop and think how the sam hell you were going to come up with an extra $800 a month?

    You sir clearly fall into the bucket of people that are harming America.  I screwed up but it must be someone elses fault.  Stop playing the victim to get sympathy.  You signed the loan like a big boy. Now pay it back.  Ignorance of the law or terms of your commitments is never an excuse.

    Own up to it.


    Clearly (none / 0) (#97)
    by cal1942 on Tue May 05, 2009 at 01:55:56 AM EST
    How old are you?  4?

    your forte is insult.

    And by the way, you are way out to lunch on the issue.  Naive and pathetic.


    I wish we could sit down and discuss this (none / 0) (#98)
    by Iamme on Thu May 07, 2009 at 10:07:46 AM EST
    All I have heard from you is "you dont know what your talking about". You offer no compelling argument other to respond with you dont know.  I have given facts and figures and explained in detail how they work.  Again do you know what an amortization table is?  It spells out the amount of principal and interest the bank gets on every payment until the terms of the loan are satisfied.  Clearly you did not read this or know what it is or you would not be in here debating this with me.  I look forward to the usual.  You dont know comment.  Please bring something meaningful to the table.

    You need to read the bill (none / 0) (#57)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:30:10 PM EST
    Because that was covered.  if the homeowner sold for more than the newly written down principle, the bank got a big chunk of that money back.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#61)
    by ruffian on Fri May 01, 2009 at 01:34:53 PM EST
    This is not worthy of you (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by sj on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:44:31 AM EST
    And because I appreciate you a great deal I'm surprised and somewhat pained to see it.

    If people filing bankruptcy get to have their McMansion mortgage principal written down then fine

    You appear to be assuming that only deadbeats would benefit.  McMansions?  Only people who participated in credit frenzy face trouble?  You are usually more farseeing and compassionate than that.

    I don't know what is causing this giant blind spot that has you giant pissed off, but I am very sorry for it.

    my only problem (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by bocajeff on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:34:16 PM EST
    with this whole thing is that the banks receive money from taxpayers to keep them afloat so they can foreclose on taxpayers who can't stay afloat. And then part of the stimulus plan has money for cities to take care of the bank's houses while they are vacant due to foreclosures. Now, if they can stay in business then people should keep their homes. If they can't then they should die. If they are being bailed out then people should be bailed out.


    It would be helpful to me (none / 0) (#3)
    by Daniel Millstone on Fri May 01, 2009 at 05:51:16 AM EST
    if the Democratic defenders of the banking industry were named in your post. I do understand that the NY Tines article which was yours source didn't do it either and that I can ( and will ) run it down for myself.

    In my view this defeat should be seen a skirmish. Eventually we will need to make rational revisions to the bankruptcy code a subject of substantial grass roots lobbying. Until then, bankers rule.

    The usual suspects (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by tokin librul on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:09:18 AM EST
    Baucus (MT)
    Bennet (CO) newbie
    Byrd (WV) What?
    Carper (DE)
    Dorgan (ND)
    Johnson (SD)
    Landrieu (LA)
    Lincoln (AR)
    Nelson, Ben (NE)
    Pryor (AR)
    Specter (PA) Newbie Dem showing his Repub cajones, independence?
    Tester (MT

    Had a chance in 2005 (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by tokin librul on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:24:44 AM EST
    Eventually we will need to make rational revisions to the bankruptcy code a subject of substantial grass roots lobbying. Until then, bankers rule.

    Then Senator Obama played games with the vote, voting to defeat amendments in committee that would have reduced some of the more draconian measures, then when the measure was a lock, voting AGAINST it on the floor...