Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is scheduled to give a speech to the Orange County Hispanic Small Business Roundtable in California. In his prepared remarks, McCain promises to offer “some straight talk” on the nation’s economic woes, promising to “evaluate everything” in order to help Americans. But what are his ideas to solve the crisis? From his speech:
— “[I]t is time to convene a meeting of the nation’s accounting professionals to discuss the current mark to market accounting systems.”
— “We should also convene a meeting of the nation’s top mortgage lenders.” (Note to McCain: The Bush administration already tried this approach, and it failed.)
— “I am prepared to examine new proposals and evaluate them.”
That’s right — a year after other leaders began calling for action on the mortgage crisis, McCain is calling for two meetings and is willing to study other ideas. But the time for meetings and studies passed long ago.
While others sought to prevent the emerging credit crisis, McCain has sat on his hands. In fact, on Feb. 17, McCain told ABC’s This Week that a government fund “to help borrowers who are facing foreclosure on their homes” isn’t necessary.
Both House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) have already unveiled serious legislative proposals to stabilize the shaky housing market. Either McCain is oblivious to these plans, or he has already decided that he’s not going to bother to “examine” and “evaluate” them.
McCain has consistently voted against mortgage protections and other steps to help consumers fight unfair credit terms. A look at his record:
— McCain voted against discouraging predatory lending practices. In 2005, McCain voted against an amendment prohibiting law-breaking high-cost predatory mortgage lenders from collecting funds from homeowners who are forced into bankruptcy court. [S. 256, 3/03/05]
— McCain failed to vote on bill to overhaul mortgage lending practices of FHA. In 2007, McCain failed to vote on passage of a bill that would overhaul the mortgage lending practices of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The bill would reduce the required minimum down payment for an FHA-insured loan and simplify its calculation, requiring a flat 1.5 percent of the appraised value of the home. [S. 2338, 12/14/07]
–- McCain failed to sign on to the Predatory Lending Consumer Protection Act. In 2003, McCain failed to add his name to this legislation, which was intended to “protect consumers against predatory practices.” The bill, which was endorsed by a host of civil rights and housing advocates, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, ACORN, and the Consumer Federation of America. [S. 1928, 11/21/03]
— McCain failed to sign on to Truth in Lending Act. Less than four months ago, McCain failed to sign on to this bipartisan initiative providing protection to consumers taking out home mortgage loans. Among other measures, it was designed to “establish new lending standards to ensure that loans are affordable and fair.” McCain also refused to co-sponsor this legislation in the 107th Congress as well. [S. 2452, 12/12/2007]
McCain’s primary solution to dealing with the flailing economy? Waiting it out. Also on ABC’s This Week on Feb. 17, when asked whether he was “open to helping homeowners,” McCain replied, “I am open to helping homeowners. I would rely to a large degree on the situation of time.”