(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) voted to give more Americans access to affordable mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The legislation, the FHA Modernization Act of 2007, will help the federal government provide an alternative to the subprime loans that have caused record foreclosures across the country. The bill lowers the down-payment requirement for FHA loans to 1.5 percent of the mortgage and allows the FHA to insure mortgages up to $417,000. Senator Murray is Chairman of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the FHA.
During the holiday season, the last thing families should be worried about is whether they will be able to afford their mortgage and keep a roof over their heads," said Senator Murray. "This is a step forward in giving families the protection and peace of mind they need."
"This bill allows the federal government to step-up as a safe alternative to the subprime mortgages that have left Americans out in the streets. The FHA will now be able to provide affordable mortgages so that Americans do not fall prey to the 'teaser rates' that have wreaked havoc on families and the housing market. And the FHA will also now be able to expand their reach into new communities throughout Washington state."
Currently, housing prices in communities throughout Washington state exceed the current FHA loan limit. This bill enables FHA to now serve more low and moderate-income Washingtonians. The FHA Modernization Act passed the Senate by a vote of 93-1.
Senator Murray also recently included $200 million for housing counseling services in the 2008 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill that she oversees. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have blocked Senate consideration of that bill. Senator Murray stressed the importance of the housing funding in a speech on the Senate floor.