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House to Vote on NSP Termination Act Today

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Washington, DC, March 16, 2011 | comments

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today will consider a bill to end the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a program which provides funding to help communities deal with large numbers of foreclosures and abandoned properties.

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The U.S. House of Representatives today will consider a bill to end the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a program which provides funding to help communities deal with large numbers of foreclosures and abandoned properties.

The NSP Termination Act (H.R. 861) is the third of four bills brought to a vote by House Republicans which kill foreclosure avoidance or mitigation programs.  Efforts to dismantle programs which address the effects of the foreclosure crisis follow earlier Republican efforts to cut funding for government agencies which will implement provisions of the Wall Street Reform Act designed to reduce the risk of another financial crisis.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, unlike other programs which directly aid homeowners facing foreclosure, provides funding for municipalities to purchase and redevelop foreclosed or abandoned properties so they don’t further depress housing prices or lead to neighborhood blight.  The bill to terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is strongly opposed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and approximately 50 organizations involved in housing.The NSP Termination Act passed out of the Financial Services Committee last week on a party line vote. Given the strong support of U.S. cities and counties, it is unclear whether Republicans can maintain solid opposition to the bill on the House floor.

During the recent debates on foreclosure mitigation programs, Republicans insisted that the programs are a burden on taxpayers and that they must be eliminated as part of efforts to reduce the budget deficit.  However, Republicans previously acted to block a levy on the largest financial institutions which would have paid for Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program. The funding mechanism was part of the House-passed version of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but it was stripped because of Republican opposition in the conference committee.  Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, plans to introduce a bill that would place a levy on the largest financial institutions in order to pay for foreclosure mitigation programs.

Last week, Republicans successfully passed the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act (H.R. 836) which ends a program providing bridge loans to unemployed homeowners facing possible foreclosure.  Republicans also passed the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act (H.R. 830), which ends a foreclosure avoidance program which helps homeowners refinance. 

A vote on the fourth bill, the HAMP Termination Act of 2011 (H.R. 839), is planned for the week after the Congressional recess.

One hour of debate is scheduled for today and the discussion is expected to be especially robust.  Legislative business begins in the House at noon.

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