By Michael Collins
Oh, it’s just that Collins guy mouthing off again.
Actually, I was far too easy on Congress yesterday in Lawless Nation – Congress.
Here’s why: HR 3808 The Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010
The bill is the response to the events outlined in a story that Numerian scooped on foreclosure problems. The banks are in big trouble. They failed to follow the law and rules in handling mortgages. Instead of foreclosing on home owners, those upside down and under water can consider strategic defaults on the mishandled notes. Legal efforts have reached a point where there’s a “tsunami of legal action against mortgage servicers” as Tyler Durden calls it.
A clever Mandarin somewhere figured out that by changing the law on notarizations, after the fact, Congress could stop the tsunami by “making it more difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure proceedings against them.” (See Ellen Brown)
HR 3808 passed both houses of Congress with ease. How? (See “Major Actions”) On April 27, it passed the House by a voice vote. On September 27, it passed the Senate unanimously. It took just minutes for the bill to pass in both chambers. Things move right along when there’s no debate.
It was more important for Congress to fix things for the bankers than to keep constituents in their homes in the midst of a relentless financial crisis, as a cold winter approaches. Congress has inherent contempt for the people. We’re probably not even important enough to hate.
Here’s the Smoking Gun
The bill originated in the House and passed without debate on April 27. It had a Republican sponsor and three cosponsors for a split two Republicans and two Democrats. The House version of the bill was sent to the Senate months ago. It sat dormant in the Senate Judiciary Committee until things got dicey and strategic defaults emerged as a real possibility due to rule breaking on a massive scale in the mortgage industry.
As if by magic, the bill emerged from committee and was passed unanimously by the United States Senate.
From the Congressional Record – a Smoking Gun for the Big Fix
Leahy let the bill out of his committee. Casey was the bag man. But everyone from top to bottom in both chambers was in on it. Hold them all accountable. Can you imagine any Republican stopping it? Would Senate Finance Chair, Chris Dodd, (D-CT) have stopped it? Where was Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) when this beast was born in the House?
“… with no intervening action, and any statement be printed in the Record.”
This is how they cover their tracks creating plausible deniability, to use a DC term. The people don’t deserve a debate and, come to think of it, Mr. Casey may have thought, they don’t even deserve a written record. We’re just the chumps, the pawn to be moved around the chess board of their strange world so disconnected from reality.
Winners and Big Losers
Lets start with the losers first.
Big Losers: Every member of the U.S. House of Representatives who knew about this bill and failed to object; the Speaker of the House; and, the majority and minority leadership. And, of course, the sponsor and three co-sponsors of HR 3808: sponsor, Rep. Robert Alderholt (R-AL) and co-sponsors Representatives Bruce Braley (D-IA), Michael Castle (R-DE), and Artur Davis (D-AL).
Big Losers: Every member of the United States Senate who knew about this bill and failed to object plus the majority and minority leadership. Special mention goes to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for letting the bill go and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), who introduced the bill for passage without comment and without any statements on the Record. Casey made sure that the bill passed unanimously.
Winner: Numerian for the best comprehensive analysis of the failure of foreclosures and emergence of strategic defaults in The Devil’s in the Details plus the cadre of financial bloggers who flesh out these stories.
Winner: President Barack Obama who did a pocket veto of this bill thus killing it for the time being. Well done!
Winner: White House blogger Dan Pfeiffer who explained the president’s pocket veto. After diplomatically stating why the bill was nixed, Pfeiffer said, “The authors of this bill no doubt had the best intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce.” White House Blog Oct 7 Irony with a tinge of condescending sarcasm. Well done!
Watch for the sequel, Re-Animator II – How Congress Tries Again to Save the Big Banks.
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