(WASHINGTON) — Four years after the economic crisis threatened to destroy the American economy, the president is urging Republican lawmakers to help homeowners who were unfairly disadvantaged by the housing crisis at the heart of the recession.
“We know the biggest cause of that crisis was reckless behavior in the housing market,” the president explains in his weekly address. “Millions of Americans who did the right and responsible thing — who shopped for a home, secured a mortgage they could afford, and made their payments on time — were badly hurt by the irresponsible actions of others.”
As his first term nears a close, the president boasts that “we’re moving in the right direction.”
“Home sales and construction are up. Prices are beginning to rise. And more than a million families who began this year owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, are now back above water,” he says.
In an election year appeal to middle class voters, the president touts his administration’s efforts to revive the housing industry and help responsible homeowners.
“Now there are some who think that the only option for homeowners is to just stand by and hope that the market has hit bottom. I don’t agree with that,” he says in a not-so-subtle jab at GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
“But we can do even more if Congress is willing to do their part,” Obama says, urging lawmakers to act on his plan to help homeowners refinance at lower rates.
“It’s a plan that has the support of independent, nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry. But Republicans in Congress worked to keep it from even getting to a vote. And here we are — seven months later — still waiting on Congress to act,” he says.
“This makes no sense. Last week, mortgage rates were at historic lows. But instead of helping more and more hardworking families take advantage of those rates, Congress was away on break. Instead of worrying about you, they’d already gone home to worry about their campaigns,” he continues.
The president admits “it’s going to take a while for our housing market to fully recover,” but says it’s going to take longer “if Congress keeps standing in the way.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Dylan Byers, CNN
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN
Lee Montana Newspapers
Seth Fiegerman, CNN