Congressman Barr Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Affordable Mortgages for Veteran Homeowners
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) has joined fellow House Financial Services Committee members Rep. David Scott (D-GA) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and fellow Veterans’ Affairs Committee member Congressman. Mike Levin (D-CA) in introducing the bipartisan Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act of 2019.
The Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act (HR 1988) preserves critical protections for veterans by maintaining strong refinancing reforms while also allowing these orphaned loans to be pooled in the secondary market. This key change will increase liquidity and free up capital for the institutions making VA home loans, ultimately preserving lower rates and affordable borrowing costs for our nation’s veterans and their families.
“This legislation is a commonsense fix to ensure that the 2,500 veteran home loans impacted by a technical error will not be subjected to further uncertainty, which may hamper liquidity in the market,” said Congressman Barr. “As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs and House Financial Services Committees, I am pleased to join my colleagues Representatives Scott, Zeldin, and Levin on this important issue and will work with them to ensure that this legislation quickly advances to the President’s desk. It is incumbent upon Congress to bring resolution to those veterans who, through absolutely no fault of their own, have been left in limbo and deserve the benefits and financial security they earned.”
Last year’s passage of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, included several bipartisan reforms designed to protect veteran homeowners from the predatory practice of rapid refinancing, frequently known as loan churning. However, a mismatch between the timing dictated in S. 2155 and the implementation of the new rules left approximately 2,500 VA-guaranteed loans ineligible for Ginnie Mae pooling. These “orphaned loans” are barred from the secondary market, creating a strain on liquidity for lending institutions and potentially driving up future borrowing costs.
“Though this legislation simply corrects a technical error, the impact it will have will be significant for the 2,500 veteran homeowners whose VA home loans were placed in limbo last May,” said Congressman Scott. “I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues, Reps. Zeldin, Levin, and Barr, to establish certainty in the market and protect affordability for our nation’s veterans. We are grateful every day for the sacrifice our veterans have made, and this bill is a small but important effort to show that Congress is keeping faith with our commitment to them.”
Veterans, just like every other American homeowner, count on multiple different types of lending institutions and businesses types to meet their home loan needs, especially in underserved communities and markets. Ensuring that stable liquidity continues to flow through the institutions, both large and small, that make loans to veterans is paramount to ensuring that current and future veterans continue to have access to the American dream of homeownership.
“Our nation’s service members, veterans and their families have made a tremendous sacrifice in service to our great nation and the freedoms and liberties that make this country the greatest in the world,” said Congressman Zeldin. They have earned nothing less than our unwavering support when transitioning back into civilian life, and such a critical part of living out the American dream they fought so hard to protect is the dream of homeownership. Ensuring certainty in the market and access to affordable mortgages for our nation’s veterans is the least we can do as they transition into civilian life, and should always be a bipartisan initiative. I thank Congressman Scott for his partnership and leadership on this issue and look forward to continuing to work with him in championing our nation’s veterans on this legislation and more.”
We have a responsibility to ensure that every veteran has the support they need to obtain affordable housing, and this bipartisan bill is an important step in ensuring that no veteran is left behind,” said Representative Levin. “Restoring lenders’ ability to pool certain VA home loans is a commonsense step that will lower costs for veterans and prevent some veterans from needing to refinance their loans, protecting them from higher mortgage costs and improving the VA home loan system. I am grateful for Congressman Scott’s work on this important legislation and I will continue to work across the aisle on measures to expand affordable housing for our nation’s heroes.”