Dems Doing Damnably Dumb Deed: 12 Voting against the mortgage cramdown measure
Today twelve Democratic senators, including the newest "Democratic" senator Arlen Specter, voted with all the Repubs to defeat the mortgage cramdown measure. Kennedy(MA) and Rockefeller (WV) were absent. Lieberman voted with the Dems on this (a freebie, since it was going down anyway?).
Among the newbies, the Udalls (CO and NM) voted to aid struggling homeowners, as did Begich (AK), Gillibrand (NY), Hagan (NC), Kaufman (DE), and Merkley (OR). I don't know these pols well enough yet to know if they would have voted this way had the vote been really close. Had Kennedy and Rockefeller voted yes, and had Franken been seated, it would have come down to one vote for a tie. Who could have been persuaded to vote to help homeowners? And would Rockefeller have stood with them?
The Dirty Dozen:
Bennet (CO) newbie
Byrd (WV) What?
Nelson, Ben (NE)
Specter (PA) Newbie Dem showing his Repub cajones, independence?
Nothing really suprising in the list -- just depressing.
Yves at Naked Capitalist writes that "Banksters Again Prevail Over Real Economy."
Note that the popular description is often misconstrued in short form descriptions. Judges would not have had open-ended authority to make changes. The construct is that mortgages are collateralized loans. The mortgage balance is written down in bankruptcy to the value of the collateral, and the excess is added to the unsecured creditor claims.
This is also not an arcane process. It's used in commercial bankruptcies and lending against boats, for instance. Ever hear any complaints about this practice in Chapter 11?
Maybe we should ask these Dems if they're going to ensure that cramdowns be disallowed in commercial bankruptcies and for those boat loans? Oh, and second (even more?) homes can currently be crammed down. But, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, heh?
Yves links to a Bloomberg article on the defeat:
Democrats led by Durbin had sought a compromise on the measure with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., the American Bankers Association and Financial Services Roundtable. The lenders that scuttled the negotiations are “surviving today because of taxpayers’ dollars,” Durbin said. The three banks he named received $95 billion in U.S. aid. (My emphasis)
I guess the banksters think they have the upper hand right about now -- they're probably right about that. James Kwak thinks so, too.
Update: DDay thinks Durbin is asking the public to call these Dems and call them out (and any Repubs who might have some milk of human kindness in them), feels Obama must have OK'd Durbin's remarks. With video of Durbin's very pointed comments after the vote.
Update 2: Scarecrow at FDL asks why, if the banks own the Senate, why don't we own the banks? Rhetorical, bitterly sarcastic question, of course.
Update 3: Watertiger writes at FDL of the newest Dem senator's vote against the Obama/Dems budget. Gee. who'dathunkit?