Sounding the alarm for supporters of the Community Reinvestment Act, a coalition of groups rallied in New York this week to demand that Congress leave the 1977 law alone.

"Let's keep the legislation that guides investment to poor neighborhoods and struggling families," Rep. Nydia Velazquez said on the steps of New York's city hall. "Let's fight for the only existing protection our communities have against lending discrimination today."

The New York Democrat was joined by political leaders from all levels of government, including deputy borough presidents, city council members, the deputy public advocate, and a state senator. Also, more than two dozen community groups participated.

Sarah Ludwig, community outreach director of the Community Reinvestment Clearinghouse, said the rally showed just how important CRA is to New York, which not coincidently is the home to Senate banking committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato.

"If you look at the people who were assembled on the steps, you are talking about people representing tens of thousands of voters saying, 'Look, CRA has been very important to our neighborhood,'" she said.

Ms. Ludwig noted that many of those gathered don't normally get along. "But, on this issue they got together because it was so important," she said.

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