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National Urban League calls for changes to current housing reform legislation

Mark Morial | 5/1/2014, 11:17 a.m.

The National Urban League and its allies cannot support the bill as designated, and strongly urges the committee to take full advantage of this opportunity by passing legislation that will help ensure access to affordable mortgage credit for all creditworthy borrowers, while at the same time protecting taxpayers from bearing the cost of a housing downturn. Maintaining reasonable and measured affordable housing goals for the GSEs will be an important step towards that goal.

We urge the Senate to recognize the impact of Johnson-Crapo on the middle class in America and not to make homeownership a luxury reserved for the fortunate few, while all others become renters. In these times of wage stagnation, declining numbers of good-paying jobs and increasing debt costs for education, shifting the risk and burden of housing finance onto regular working- and middle-class families is a bad idea. We must work toward measures that end — not expand — this trend of increasing costs. When will we stop asking working- and middle-class families to pay for a financial crisis that they did not cause — and instead support their efforts to rebuild, as we have with Wall Street?

Marc Morial is president and CEO of the National Urban League. He served as mayor of New Orleans from 1994 until 2002.