WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave a strong indication Wednesday that House lawmakers won't try to put back into a housing bill a bankruptcy provision that had been stripped out in the Senate.
The provision aimed to make it easier for bankruptcy judges to alter the terms of an individual's mortgage in a bankruptcy proceeding.
The hope was that if bankruptcy judges were given greater authority, mortgage companies would be more willing to work with troubled borrowers to alter the terms of their loans before they were forced into bankruptcy.
It has been a key plank of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats' attempts to help stabilize the housing market and provide assistance to individual homeowners struggling to make their repayments.
"It's clear that the votes are not there in the Senate," Pelosi said. "It's really a major disappointment that homeowners will not have the ability to declare bankruptcy on their primary residence while wealthier people can declare bankruptcy on their second, third and fourth homes."
The provision, known as cramdown, was defeated in a vote in the Senate last week.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., attempted to add it to a wider housing bill that would also extend a Treasury line of credit for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and bolster a program to help troubled borrowers stay in their homes.
The House had previously passed a bill that included the cramdown provision.
Given Pelosi's comments, the House would either have to take up the Senate version of the bill with the cramdown provision stripped out, or House negotiators would have to abandon any attempts to add the measure back in when House and Senate lawmakers meet to iron out differences between the two versions of the bill.
It marks a significant victory for the financial services industry, which had strongly lobbied against the measure, arguing that it would raise the costs of borrowing for all homeowners.
Durbin was unable to reach a deal with the financial industry, despite having managed to get Citigroup Inc., one of the nation's largest lenders, on board.