House Republicans and 14 Democrats Made Home Ownership Harder for Middle-Class and and POC Buyers

Jonathan Cohn
2 min readJun 28, 2023

Last week, the US House passed the disingenuously named Middle Class Borrower Protection Act. The problem with the name, of course, is that the bill would do nothing to protect middle-class borrowers. In fact, it harms them.

Earlier this year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released a more equitable pricing framework for mortgage lending, one which the GOP unsurprisingly lambasted as “socialism.” The bill passed last week would revert the framework back to the one previous one.

As Americans for Financial Reform explained, this will harm middle-class borrowers and borrowers of color.

We oppose H.R. 3564 because it would rescind the FHFA’s more equitable pricing framework and instead require the FHFA to increase fees for many first-time home buyers and those who do not have a 20% down payment. It would require the FHFA to impose a risk-based pricing model, one that would ultimately benefit housing investors and vacation home owners while making homeownership more difficult for middle class Americans.

H.R. 3564 will disproportionately harm homebuyers of color. Because of our history of racial discrimination, a large racial wealth gap persists that makes it less likely that a homebuyer of color will be able to pay for a 20 percent down payment through their personal savings, assistance from their families, or inheritance.

The National Fair Housing Alliance expressed similarly concerns about the bill:

“We are concerned that Congress is attempting to set mortgage pricing fees for loans purchased by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). This is the role of their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). A return to the former pricing matrix would raise the cost of homeownership and make it more expensive for first-time homebuyers and borrowers of color seeking conventional loans. The bill also fails to advance housing affordability and does not offer a solution for the millions of mortgage-ready consumers who desire and can succeed in homeownership.”

Nonetheless, the bill passed 230 to 189. 14 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill:

Brendan Boyle (PA-03), Angie Craig (MN-02), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Don Davis (NC-01), Jared Golden (ME-02), Josh Harder (CA-09), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), Chris Pappas (NY-01), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Susan Wild (PA-07).

--

--

Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.