Congress and the mortgage mess

Source: New York Times (Free Registration)

The House will vote today on much needed legislation to curtail abusive mortgage lending. Last minute lobbying to weaken the bill is coming from all corners: from brokers who hawked the junk loans, lenders who advanced the cash and Wall Street banks that bought the loans and repackaged them into securities for sale to investors. Having profited so immensely during the mortgage bubble, they now want to keep the world safe for future financial excesses. Industry has already scored some regrettable victories. It persuaded the bill’s backers to include a provision that would prevent borrowers from suing Wall Street firms in state court — where consumer protections are often stronger — for common abusive loan practices. If Congress truly wants to protect consumers, rather than kowtow to the mortgage industry, lawmakers must resist further efforts to cripple the bill and pass a number of essential amendments before the final vote.

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