Menendez Reacts To Bush Announcement In NJ: Less Fanfare, More Action Needed To Dent

Menendez Reacts To Bush Announcement In NJ: Less Fanfare, More Action Needed To Dent

President visited debt-counseling agency in Freehold today, offered no new solutions

Newark - Today at a debt-counseling agency in Freehold, New Jersey, President Bush raised awareness about efforts underway by counseling agencies, but failed to announce any new initiatives to tackle the current foreclosure crisis. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Banking Committee who sounded alarm bells on the housing crisis more than a year ago and has been a key supporter of Congressional efforts to address it, released the following statement:

"Today was a nice photo-op for the president, but touting the baby steps the administration has taken in the face of this tsunami of foreclosures cannot be mistaken for the type of bold action American homeowners need. More and more, the message from last week's Bear Sterns bailout is becoming clear. The administration will summon all hands on deck, burn the midnight oil, and take every necessary step to salvage Wall Street, but when it comes to helping struggling homeowners, it's just too little, too late. Eight months after the administration first announced it had a plan to help homeowners, it appears a hotline and slow-paced effort that is reaching a narrow margin of at-risk homes is the best it has to offer.

"I would have hoped that the president came to New Jersey to announce a new broader-based, farther-reaching initiative to buoy homeowners whose homes are slipping away. I would have hoped that he was here to finally endorse some of the proposals in Congress that could help homeowners save their homes, which his Republican colleagues have refused to support. I think the 34,000 New Jersey homeowners who filed for foreclosure last year and the two million families nationwide that could be facing foreclosure in the coming year were hoping for more as well. But instead, the president's visit today merely fits the administration's pattern of inaction.

"In the absence of administration leadership on behalf of America's homeowners, it is important for Congress to pass the housing bill that will be up for a vote again next week. The question is whether Republicans in the Senate can yet again look struggling homeowners in the eyes and vote no."