House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) appeared on CNBC today to discuss the GOP’s vision for the economy and the budget. Cantor promised that the Republican majority in the House is “listening” and wants to go about “evening the playing field” between, amongst other parties, “fraudulent mortgage actors” and the homeowners they’ve harmed:
CANTOR: At the end of the day, really, in this country, it’s about everybody having a fair shot. And it’s the private sector employers and employees thinking they don’t have a fair shot cause there’s something going on with their politicians and the government worker unions. People are feeling, still, that fraudulent mortgage actors have caused their home values to be depressed and they can’t see that come back. There’s people looking at the gyrations on Wall Street thinking ‘hey, wait, a minute, what about my 401(k)?’ And so what we’re going to be about in Washington is to try and say, you know, you’ve got now a majority in Congress in the House that’s listening, that wants to go about evening the playing field, to give everybody that fair shot.
It’s good to hear Cantor admit that fraudulent mortgage lending took place. But while he’s acknowledged that reality today, Cantor has not had much sympathy for foreclosed-upon homeowners in the past. He criticized the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention efforts as helping people who are not “playing and paying by the rules,” and said that those facing foreclosure simply “have to take responsibility for themselves.”
And Cantor’s position mirrors that of most House Republicans. When the “robo-signing” scandal first broke — which involved banks violating due process by approving foreclosures without actually examining the proper documentation — House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) decided that the proper remedy was to investigate whether poor people took out mortgages they couldn’t afford. House Republicans also voted en masse against the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which created a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to police fraudulent and predatory mortgage lending.
House Republicans are also currently trying to “pull the plug” on federal foreclosure prevention programs, with Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, saying that foreclosure prevention efforts simply “need to stop.” It’s fine that Cantor seems finally willing to accept that abuses occurred, but House Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they don’t plan to grapple with any of the fallout those abuses caused.