House approves $2.2B in mortgage stimulus aid, weatherization assistance package

NEW YORK — The House voted Friday to give $2 billion in loan guarantees to the nation’s mortgage giants, weatherizing the program for the first time in four years and providing $3.2 billion to help weatherize homeowners and businesses.

The House passed the legislation on a 227-195 vote, sending it to the Senate.

The bill would also authorize $500 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is tasked with ensuring that all new mortgages are fully insured.

House Democrats objected to the money being earmarked for weatherization, saying it was unnecessary and should be used to help low-income homeowners and small businesses.

The measure does not include funding for mortgage foreclosures.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that it was the first such package since the housing crash of 2008, when many homeowners were left underwater.

The $2-billion package will be used for a range of housing programs, including homeownership programs, foreclosure prevention and the foreclosure mitigation program, according to the House Ways and Meets committee.

The aid will be available to all borrowers who are current on their mortgages and can afford it.

The Senate approved a similar measure last month and is expected to approve it this week.

In the House, Republicans opposed the program, arguing that it would hurt the most vulnerable and was unwise to spend money on a program designed to help the middle class.

The legislation, which was authored by Roskamp and Rep. Richard Neal (R.-Mass.), also would give loans to the government’s National Flood Insurance Program, which provides flood insurance for federal flood insurance projects and other federal government programs.

That program receives $1.5 billion annually and was set up to help homeowners.

The bill also would provide $500,000 in emergency flood assistance for households that have been foreclosed on, and $5 million to help those who have lost their homes to foreclosure.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) argued that the bill was a way to provide relief to the middle classes.

“We’ve made it clear that if we’re going to get to the top of this problem, we’re not going to be able to do it by providing this type of relief,” he said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), however, slammed the bill for its lack of funding for homeowners, saying that the funding should have gone to foreclosed homeowners.

“The problem is not a problem of money,” she said.

“The problem in the House of Representatives is that the money for foreclosed homes and foreclosed loans is the same as it was last year, and they get the same benefit.”