March 29 -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted to abolish a program designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure as some Democrats aligning with Republicans against the measure.
The House voted 252-170 to eliminate the Home Affordable Modification Program, President Barack Obama’s effort to aid struggling homeowners. The program pays banks and mortgage servicers to modify borrowers’ monthly payments.
About 1.5 million households have begun trial mortgage modifications through HAMP, fewer than initial projections of 3 million to 4 million. More than 600,000 homeowners have received permanent modifications.
Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, has called the HAMP program “a failure” and said it pales in comparison to the record 2.9 million foreclosure filings in 2010.
The vote is the last of four brought by House Republicans to kill funding for homeowner-aid programs backed by the administration.
The measure must pass the Senate before it can become law. Senate Republicans Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have introduced legislation to end the program. Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it gets to his desk.
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