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The President's Weekly Address

May 11, 2013

Hi, everybody. Our top priority as a nation is reigniting the true engine of our economic growth: a rising, thriving middle class. And few things define what it is to be middle class in America more than owning your own cornerstone of the American Dream: a home.

Today, 7 years after the real estate bubble burst, triggering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and costing millions of responsible Americans their jobs and their homes, our housing market is healing. Sales are up. Foreclosures are down. Construction is expanding. And thanks to rising home prices over the past year, 1.7 million more American families have been able to come up for air, because they're no longer underwater on their mortgages.

From the day I took office, I've made it a priority to help responsible homeowners and prevent the kind of recklessness that helped cause this crisis in the first place.

My housing plan has already helped more than 2 million people refinance their mortgages, and they're saving an average of $3,000 per year.

My new consumer watchdog agency is moving forward on protections like a simpler, shorter mortgage form that will help to keep hard-working families from getting ripped off.

But we've still got more work to do. We've got more responsible homeowners to help: folks who have never missed a mortgage payment, but aren't allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they're worth.

Last week, I nominated a man named Mel Watt to take on these challenges as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Mel's represented the people of North Carolina in Congress for 20 years, and in that time, he helped lead efforts to put in place rules of the road that protect consumers from dishonest mortgage lenders and give responsible Americans the chance to own their own home. He's the right person for the job, and that's why Congress should do its job and confirm him without delay.

And they shouldn't stop there. As I said before, more than 2 million Americans have already refinanced at today's low rates, but we can do a lot better than that. I've called on Congress to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance and, with it, the opportunity to save $3,000 a year. That's like a $3,000 tax cut. And if you're one of the millions of Americans who could take advantage of that, you should ask your representative in Congress why they won't act on it.

Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress, but we could do so much more if we work together. More good jobs. Greater security for middle class families. A sense that your hard work is rewarded. That's what I'm fighting for, and that's what I'm going to keep on fighting for as long as I hold this office.

Thank you, and have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 5:15 p.m. on May 10 in the State Dining Room at the White House for broadcast on May 11. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 10, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on May 11.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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