On Saturday I wrote a post about the efforts of former Wall Street investment banker Ellen Tauscher to gut legislation that would allow bankruptcy judges to write down mortgages, something that would stop 20% of foreclosures at no cost to the taxpayers. But banks and banking lobbyists are holding out hope that they can unload their bad loans on taxpayers, and are working through people like Tauscher to oppose the legislation so they never have to take responsibility for their mistakes.
I promptly got a call from Jonathan Kaplan, Tauscher’s press secretary, who said that the Executive Director of the New Democrat Coalition, a former lobbyist for predatory lenders who worked to undermine regulation of subprime loans named Adam Pase, was not working on this issue, nor was Tauscher taking the lead. He claimed Tauscher was only trying to help homeowners before they got to bankruptcy court, and wasn’t trying to weaken anything.
Lo and behold, this morning we find not one but two articles where Tauscher brags about her leadership of an effort to "limit the scope of the bankruptcy bill as much as possible," saying that "it shows we have bench strength, and it shows we can flex." It says that Adam Pace was circulating memos on the bill, and an article in Roll Call this morning (subscription) states that he is "widely credited with bringing a sharp organizational focus that has reinvigorated the group."
The upshot? Nancy Pelosi "buckled" and suspended consideration of the housing bill at a time when it is desperately needed.
Lobbyist money is flowing into the coffers of Tauscher’s New Democrat Coalition, and it’s time to stop pretending that they are doing anything but representing corporate interests over those of their constituents. Kagro has a post on the congressional districts hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, and included are New Democrats Bill Foster, Gabby Giffords, Shelly Berkley, Brian Baird, Melissa Bean, Patrick Murphy, John Larson, Dennis Moore and Jim Moran. (Caroline Maloney and Ed Perlmutter are not on the list, but they have been vocal in their support for Tauscher’s efforts.)
We’re asking you to do two things:
Write a letter to the editor of your local papers (just enter your zip code) saying you expect your Member of Congress to represent you, not the banks, and you’ll be watching to see if they oppose Tauscher and her bank lobbyist cronies.
Sign a petition to Nancy Pelosi telling her not to "buckle" to pressure from bank lobbyists working through greedy corporatist Members of Congress, and to act swiftly to give judges the authority they need to write down mortgages. The banks must take responsibility for their own bad judgment; taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to pick up the tab.
These same people killed efforts in 2007 to allow bankruptcy judges to write down mortgages at that time, which could have helped us from ever getting to this place. It’s time they stop pretending that they care about their constituents when they’re only being tools of the banking lobby.