Grassley on the Housing Bill

Senator Grassley recently released a statement about his vote on the housing bill that recently passed congress and was signed by the president.

The problem with this massive bill is that it could do more harm than good. It started out to help Americans who are losing their homes, but it ended up giving banks a $4 billion incentive to foreclose rather than work something out with homeowners who are in trouble due to downturn in the housing market. The bill’s bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doesn’t even begin to reform the excesses and the conflicts of interest that contributed substantially to the problems the mortgage giants face today. And, more broadly, the bailout fosters moral hazard by diminishing any incentive for the housing sector to act more responsibly in the future…. this bill has fallen prey to the special interests on Wall Street and K Street at an unjustifiable expense to taxpayers and homeowners on Main Street. (read full comments here)

WOW! Maybe Mr. Grassley has forgotten his repeated votes for cloture on this bill. And, maybe MR. Grassley has forgotten the many questionable additions he made to the bill. And maybe, just maybe, Mr. Grassley is playing cheap politics by voting for a bill that even he now recognizes as a bad bill.

If the bill is as bad as the senator described in his press release why would he vote in favor of it. He is speaking out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. He wants to be able to herald his effort to provide mortgage relief by voting for this bill. Yet, he wants to be able to say I did not support this bill when it is convenient for him.

My regular readers may know that I strongly object to cluttering a bill with unrelated legislation. Senator Grassley alone has confused the bill by adding property tax legislation, Midwest disaster relief legislation, and legislation that requires big brother style data collection for online purchases. These inclusions make it nearly impossible for a senator to vote for or against a bill without voting for or against good legislation. This manner of writing legislation also allows politicians to pull what Grassley is attempting now with the Housing bill, voting for a bill while claiming he opposes it. When campaign time arives Grassley will claim that he voted for the bill while also saying he was strongly opposed to the same bill to please specific audiences. How is the voting public supposed to understand what their elected officials are actually doing?

To the point, Mr. Grassley is playing games with his vote and press release. Senator, if you oppose a bill, vote against it! Stand on your principals and look to your personal ethics to guide you. If nothing else, ask your constituents prior to voting. I guarantee we will tell you what we think.

Greg Forbes
Editor, grassleywatch.com

Originally posted 08/02/08 on Grassley Watch