President Obama stands up for American homeowners in historic housing settlement

It's a story we've come to know all too well: Millions of responsible Americans bought a piece of the American Dream, got a mortgage they could afford, and made their house payments. But they were still hurt by predatory lenders who issued loans to people who couldn't afford them and by banks that traded risky mortgages for huge profits. In the worst housing crisis in generations, 4 million families lost their home to foreclosure.

But today, President Obama made a major announcement that will help struggling homeowners get back on their feet: His administration, working with attorneys general from nearly every state, has stood up to the big banks and stood up for struggling homeowners in an unprecedented way. They've reached a landmark settlement with the nation's largest banks to bring relief to the hardest-hit homeowners and end some of the mortgage industry's most abusive practices. This is the largest civil settlement since the tobacco industry deal in 1998.

Here's how it will help homeowners: The biggest American banks, the ones that were rescued by taxpayer dollars in 2008, will be required to put billions of dollars toward homeowner relief. They'll offer refinancing for borrowers who have high interest-rate mortgages. They'll reduce loans for families who owe more than their homes are worth. And, according to the President, "they will deliver some measure of justice for families that have already been victims of abusive practices."

The contrast couldn't be more stark between President Obama's efforts on behalf of American homeowners and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney's utter lack of concern for their plight. As he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney has yet to offer a single proposal to lend a hand to America's struggling homeowners, make it easier for them to refinance their homes, or help them avoid foreclosure.

Instead of proposing ways to help responsible homeowners get relief, Romney's philosophy is, "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom."

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