This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have enabled veterans and those serving in the military to benefit from a federal subsidized loan program for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure.
The underlying bill terminated a program which provided a maximum of $50,000 in subsidized loans to homeowners who were at least three months delinquent on their home mortgages as a result of unemployment. This motion to recommit would have allowed the program to continue exclusively for veterans and those currently serving in the military, as opposed to terminating the program for everyone.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) urged support for this motion to recommit: “…In my district, in the community of Woodbridge, Virginia--the foreclosure rate spiked an astounding 414 percent around the Quantico Marine Corps Base. Why is that? Because the unemployment rate for our military heroes who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is 15 percent higher than the national average. We all know how difficult the transition back into civilian life can be, particularly for the disabled as they try to find work….In a sincere attempt to honor their memories, many of my colleagues post pictures outside their offices of local service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Those men and women fought and died protecting our homes. How can we now tell their families that we're not going to fight to protect theirs?”
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) opposed this motion to recommit: “We are talking about our soldiers, our veterans. What do they do? They fight for our freedom, for our national defense. What is the greatest threat to our country now? What is the greatest threat to our national security? It is the debt.….Let's defend our country. Let's start cutting our debt.”
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) argued: “Veterans have their own program that they can go to and borrow money. They are not being disadvantaged by our doing away with the program that we are talking about today. In fact, if VA [Veterans’ Administration] individuals have loans that are guaranteed by the VA and their homes are under water, they can go back to the VA and, in some instances, get those loans refinanced…”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 182-238. All 181 Democrats present and 1 Republican voted “yea.” 238 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have enabled veterans and those serving in the military to benefit from a program which provided a maximum of $50,000 in subsidized loans to homeowners who were at least three months delinquent on their home mortgages as a result of unemployment.