UPDATED! Nat'l Urban League, other civil rights groups oppose floor vote on Johnson-Crapo in letter to Sen. Reid

April 23 2014


The National Urban League was among several civil rights and social justice organizations who wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to voice their opposition to S. 1271, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013, also known as the Johnson-Crapo bill.

The signatories to the letter represent a broad cross section of ethnic, faith-based, social justice and trade groups that represent "millions of hardworking millenial first-time buyers and minority, working-class and rural families who comprise the majority of the homebuyer market.   They include: the National Urban League, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Center for Responsible Lending, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, the National Action Network, the National Asian American Coalition, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and the Rainbow Push Coalition

The leaders said they could not support a vote on Johnson-Crapo because "the bill's weak system of accountability allows institutions profting from a government guarantee to ignore the credit needs of the vast majority of creditworthy borrowers."

The letter goes on to say that the bill "damages existing fair housing and lending protections and includes no meaningful power, beyond incentives, for the regulator to ensure access to capital for all creditworthy borrowers. . . .Access and fairness are not points of negotiation; they are the tenets of sound housing finance reform."


Morial Says Johnson-Crapo Reform Bill Will Make Homeownership Unaffordable for Working Americans

National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial today said a measure to reform the housing finance industry and government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) is based on a myth he calls a “weapon of mass deception” that blames minority and low-to-moderate income borrowers for the nation’s economic woes.   He also warned that, if enacted, the Housing Finance Reform and Tax Payer Protection Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the Johnson-Crapo bill, would make homeownership unaffordable for working and middle-class Americans and widen the existing wealth gap.

In a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, Morial wrote of his deep concerns with the bill and, in particular, the elimination of affordable housing goals:

“The reform legislation introduced by you, if enacted, would radically change the way that most Americans buy homes. Most alarming is that the Johnson-Crapo draft measure does not do enough to promote affordable housing for ownership. This is a fundamental issue that cannot be overlooked, underestimated or relegated to negotiation on the Senate floor.”

Morial also cited his 2008 testimony to the Senate Banking where he initially condemned the effort to blame victims of predatory lenders for the housing crisis. 

“Today, that myth is, as it was then, an enormously damaging and far-reaching affront that wrongly shifts the culpability for the housing crisis from too much Wall Street greed and too little Washington oversight onto middle-class families on Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.”

In conclusion, Morial wrote, “The Senate Banking Committee has an historic opportunity to send a comprehensive housing finance reform bill to the Senate floor and a responsibility to not turn back the hands of time and gut the provisions that have made it possible for millions of hard-working Americans to have their piece of our collective dream.”

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