Bush’s plan to help homeowners ‘less than it appears.’

On Friday, President Bush unveiled his “plan to help homeowners,” who are facing foreclosures in the housing slump. But McClatchy reports that most of what Bush announced simply duplicates what Congress is already doing:

The plan was announced days before Congress returns from its August recess with housing issues high on its agenda. The proposals, however, duplicate efforts already under way by Congress and other federal agencies, would help at most 21 percent of the homeowners facing foreclosures and would do little to help areas in which inflated real estate prices are a problem.

Bush called on Democrats to approve a modernization of the Federal Housing Administration, which passed the House of Representatives last year with bipartisan support but was quashed by Senate Republicans.

He promised to require greater disclosure from lenders, a move on which federal bank regulators already have provided guidance. He promised to get tough with unscrupulous mortgage brokers, but they’re largely regulated on the state level. And during a briefing Friday, a senior administration official acknowledged that the plan would do little to help states with high real estate prices, such as California.