Today, a proposal to change bankruptcy law and allow bankruptcy judges to cram-down mortgage payments for troubled homeowners failed in the Senate by a vote of 45-51. The provision, which was introduced as an amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), required 60 votes to pass. In recent weeks, support for the measure evaporated in the face of furious lobbying by the banking and mortgage industries. Prior to the vote, Durbin — who this week said that bankers “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill” — took to the floor to decry the banking industry’s influence in the cram-down debate:
At some point the senators in this chamber will decide the bankers shouldn’t write the agenda for the United States Senate. At some point the people in this chamber will decide the people we represent are not the folks working in the big banks, but the folks struggling to make a living and struggling to keep a decent home.
The American News Project noted that the Mortgage Bankers Association was “in a celebratory mood” at its annual meeting this week, because “a massive lobbying campaign” against cram-down appeared to be working.