BOSTON — Rep. Barney Frank said Monday that Republican criticism of Democrats over the nation’s housing crisis is a veiled attack on the poor that’s racially motivated.
The Massachusetts Democrat, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the GOP is appealing to its base by blaming the country’s mortgage foreclosure problem on efforts to expand affordable housing through the Community Reinvestment Act.
He said that blame is misplaced, because those loans are issued by regulated institutions, while far more foreclosures were triggered by high-cost loans made by unregulated entities.
“They get to take things out on poor people,” Frank said at a mortgage foreclosure symposium in Boston. “Let’s be honest: The fact that some of the poor people are black doesn’t hurt them either, from their standpoint. This is an effort, I believe, to appeal to a kind of anger in people.”
Frank also dismissed charges the Democrats failed on their own or blocked Republican efforts to rein in the mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The federal government recently took control of both entities.
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio called Frank’s remarks “a lame, desperate attempt to divert Americans’ attention away from the Democratic party’s obstruction of reforms that would have reined in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and helped our nation avoid this economic crisis.”
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