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In the News: Frank Introduces Bill to Fund Programs Aimed at Helping Homeowners and Communities Hardest Hit by the Foreclosure Crisis

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Washington, DC, March 18, 2011 | comments
 
Barney's big bill
By MARK DeCAMBRE
Updated: Fri., Mar. 18, 2011, 4:42 AM 
 
Barney Frank wants to send Jamie Dimon, Steve Cohen and other Wall Street titans an additional $2.5 billion tax bill to fund programs aimed at helping homeowners and communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.
 
The top-ranking Democratic lawmaker on the House Financial Services Committee floated a bill yesterday that would see the nation's biggest banks and hedge funds pay the huge "levy" which would fund a series of housing programs that have drawn the attention of Republican budget-cutters.
 
The Emergency Mortgage Relief and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs Cost Recoupment Act of 2011 would seek the funds from large banks with assets of at least $50 billion, like Dimon's JPMorgan Chase, and hedge funds with at least $10 billion under management, like Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors.
 
"This program provides important funding to cities that have already been hit by the foreclosure crisis and allows them to cope with the blight, expense and destabilization that come with the presence of large numbers of empty properties," he noted.
 
Frank's proposal comes as 50 state Attorneys General and financial regulators are hashing over a mortgage settlement in the hopes of getting firms to cough up at least $20 billion to help ease much of the foreclosure problems plaguing the US housing market.
 
Frank's bill to levy a fee against banks and hedge funds would reintroduce a similar component of the original Dodd-Frank bill that sought to extract $19 billion in funds from financial institutions in order to foot the costs of financial reform.
 
Those levies were eventually cut from the financial reform bill but are being promoted by Frank now because of the tremendous budget shortfalls that state and federal governments are facing.
 
"In the past two weeks House Republicans have eliminated a lot of these programs, and this is something that Barney feels very strongly about," said a spokesman for Frank.
 
Given the Democrats' minority status in the House, Frank's bill may not get much support from other legislators.
 
That's especially the case as bank lobbyists fight to limit the size of any eventual settlement banks might have to pay out in broader foreclosure talks being hashed over. mdecambre@nypost.com
 
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