Last week, the Senate voted 45-51 to defeat a proposal to change bankruptcy law and allow bankruptcy judges to cram-down mortgage payments. As Pat Garofalo has explained, cram-downs help homeowners by enabling these judges “to lower mortgage payments for those who owe more than their home is worth and have exhausted all other options.” Prior to the vote, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) — who sponsored the amendment — took the floor and decried the powerful banking industry that was working to defeat the provision. Indeed, as Jane Hamsher now reports, lobbyists received more than $42 million to defeat such legislation this year:
A review of lobbying reports filed indicates that finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) interests paid over $42 million to lobbyists who worked to defeat mortgage write-down in bankruptcy (cramdown) in the first quarter of 2009, as well as other anti-consumer legislation such as capping credit card interest rates.
Sixty organizations filed lobbying reports for the first quarter of 2009 indicating that they had paid lobbyists to work on the issue (see chart). Because lobbying reports don’t break down how much money was devoted to lobbying on a specific issue it’s not possible to break down a total spent on cramdown alone, but lobbying against H.R. 1106, H.R. 200 and S. 61, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act was a priority for those organizations and lobbyists listed.
According to Durbin, between now and 2012, 8 million homeowners may lose their homes in foreclosure.