Friday, March 06, 2009

*Saturday March 7, 2009* Free Foreclosure Assistance @ Hickory Hill Community Center In Memphis,TN...

On Saturday, March 7, I am hosting a free Foreclosure Assistance Workshop at the Hickory Hill Community Center, 3910 Ridgeway Rd, from 9:00 AM to Noon. Specialists certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be on hand to give free and confidential advice to participants. Space is limited so if you’re interested in attending, please call my District Office at 901-544-4131.

It’s the American dream to own your own home, but the economic crisis is forcing millions of Americans into foreclosure. Homeowners have different options, and that’s why I’ve assembled this group of experts to give free advice to my constituents. If you’re having trouble with your mortgage and you don’t know where to turn, please RSVP for this workshop and we’ll help you in any way that we can.

I’m working hard to stop home foreclosures from spiraling out of control, and that’s why yesterday I was proud to vote for H.R. 1106, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. This legislation gives bankruptcy judges the ability to modify existing mortgages for families who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law which has jurisdiction over bankruptcy law, I strongly supported this bill.

***Watch Congressman Cohen’s Floor Speech on H.R. 1106 HERE.

I have been fighting for this legislation since last year, and Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Conyers asked me to present the bill to the Democratic Caucus last week. I’ve also been educating freshman and sophomore Members of the House about the importance of changing the rules for mortgage modification through bankruptcy.

Stabilizing the housing market is central to restoring the American economy. We all stand to lose if we do not stop the steep decline in home prices. In fact, each foreclosed home reduces nearby property values by as much as 9 percent. By keeping families in their homes, we help preserve neighborhoods because foreclosures often result in the deterioration of property and an influx in crime. Stopping foreclosures also helps state and local governments by keeping homes on the tax rolls.

This legislation is critical to the overall recovery of our economy and puts into place a key provision of President Obama’s comprehensive Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. Home prices dropped 18 percent in the last quarter of 2008. More than 14 million homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth, and they cannot refinance. Many are facing foreclosure through no fault of their own. This is an important step in helping America recover.

Additionally, H.R. 1106 makes permanent the raise in the maximum federal deposit insurance coverage from the FDIC from $100,000 to $250,000. This was a key provision during negotiations on the TARP legislation in October. The idea for raising FDIC limits first arose when I introduced H.R. 6986 on September 22, 2008. I’m pleased that the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act would make the temporary increases in FDIC coverage that were included in the TARP bill permanent.

Today we learned that our economy lost another 651,000 jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent. 4.4 million Americans have now lost their jobs since this recession began last year, and there are now nearly 3 million Americans who have been unemployed for six months or more.

These job numbers aren’t just statistics – they are millions of men and women across the country whose families are now struggling to put food on the table, stay in their homes and pay their medical bills. These families are the central focus of the Congress’s economic policies, and why we are moving swiftly and aggressively to jumpstart job creation and grow our economy.

***Watch Congressman Cohen’s speech on fighting the recession HERE.

This Congress and President Obama will continue to do whatever is necessary to break the destructive cycle of job loss in this country and put Americans back to work. That includes our comprehensive plan to save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, re-start lending for consumers and small businesses, help responsible homeowners pay their mortgages and re-finance their homes, reform our financial regulatory system and address the long-term economic challenges we face – including the high cost of health care, our dependence on oil, and the state of our schools.

Last year, President Bush refused to work with Congress to pass and implement spending bills. Instead, he insisted on making unacceptable cuts to energy research, healthcare, education, law enforcement and biomedical research. We passed a continuing resolution in the fall to fund the federal government until today, but the Senate has not finished working on the FY2009 Omnibus appropriations bill that we approved last week. Today, we passed an additional continuing resolution that will fund the federal government until Wednesday, permitting the Senate additional time to finish last year’s business.

Yesterday, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee once again took up the Federal Aviation Authority Reauthorization Act, and unfortunately it included provisions that I believe will be harmful to the 9th District’s largest employer: FedEx. I’ve been meeting with FedEx representatives and we’re still charting a course of action on how to move forward, but I believe this will be a contentious issue when it comes up in the Senate.

***Watch Congressman Cohen’s speech in the FAA Reauthorization markup HERE.

Finally, I was pleased to announce a number of grants this week: St. Jude received $420,000 from the Deparmtent of Health and Human Services (HHS), the University of Tennessee Health Science Center got two grants from HHS worth more than $1.04 million, and Shelby County received over $2.1 million under the Ryan White Part A HIV Emergency Relief Program, which provides emergency assistance to communities and severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

As always, I remain,

Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member Of Congress

*Check Out U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Interview On W.E. A.L.L. B.E News & Radio:

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W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Yes He Did...So Now What??? Defining The Obama Presidency...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special:O Yes We Did!!! The Barack Obama Tribute...

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