Senator Murray Responds:

Dear Mr. Kirsch:

Thank you for writing me about the current downturn in the housing market and the federal government’s role in responding. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you know, growing losses in subprime mortgage markets have recently had a negative effect on the United States economy. Thousands of people are on the brink of losing their homes to foreclosure, and as a result many financial institutions have been faced with bankruptcy as consumer confidence in mortgage-backed securities has decreased. I share many of your concerns regarding the appropriate manner for Congress and the Administration to respond to this situation.

Improving the economy is a top priority of mine. There are numerous proposals currently pending in Congress designed to strengthen the regulation of banking and securities trading in order to prevent this kind of economic downturn in the future, as well as various other pieces of legislation to address the current downturn in the economy and create economic stimulus. One of these bills, H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, was signed into law by President Bush on July 30, 2008. This bill contains provisions to help thousands of homeowners avoid foreclosure, as well as provisions to stimulate the housing market including refundable tax credits to certain first-time home buyers and resources to cities to buy foreclosed or abandoned properties.

Stabilizing the housing market is vital to strengthening the economy and getting America’s financial sector back on track. Although I have concerns about parts of H.R. 3221, overall I believe it will make important reforms to modernize government agencies and help restore confidence in the economy. As the 110th Congress continues, I will keep your thoughts in mind and continue to work to address these critical issues. Thank you for contacting me, and please do not hesitate to write me again in the future.

I hope all is well in Seattle.