The incoming president has demonstrably warm relationships with Democrats in Congress. I wonder, then, which side will back down first now that one thing is clear: Many Dems want the upcoming stimulus bill to include a provision allowing bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of primary mortgages for Americans facing bankruptcy (a policy known as 'cramdown'
); Obama thinks it's a good idea, but doesn't want it on
The latest affirmation of the Obama team's stance came during this morning's
Senate confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary-designate Tim Geithner.
What remains unclear is why the new administration believes the "cramdown" change would be better tackled in a separate housing bill. When Citigroup is already on board, and no less a Wall Street ally than Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tells the Journal
that "we think it would be great to put this on the stimulus," what's the trouble here?Late Update:
To answer the commenters who cite the Obama team's interest in locking down Republican votes for the stimulus bill ... The notion that Democrats should delay one of their longtime priorities -- one that would help millions of mortgage-holders avoid economic ruin, one that just won a major financial industry endorsement -- to woo the GOP is fairly bizarre. And as we can see today, House Republican leaders aren't likely to vote for
the stimulus as it is.