From the Wall Street Journal:
Bush to Revive Push for Housing Remedy
By JOHN D. MCKINNON
January 2, 2008; Page A2
WASHINGTON — With public sentiment on the economy still sagging, President Bush will make a new push for congressional action to shore up the troubled housing market, a top aide said.
In an impromptu briefing aboard Air Force One as Mr. Bush returned from his Texas ranch, top communications adviser Ed Gillespie told reporters that the president wants Congress to do more to “help make the market more stable.” The administration sees “an opportunity for bipartisan consensus” on a housing initiative, despite the feuding that erupted last year between the Republican White House and the Democratic House and Senate over issues including the Iraq war, health care, and spending for parks and museums.
Shoring up public sentiment on the economy — especially the battered housing sector — could be vital to staving off a recession as Mr. Bush enters his last year in office. Pollsters say many people who aren’t directly affected by rising defaults on subprime-mortgage loans are feeling the effects anyway, as they see the values of their homes drift downward. Even if Mr. Bush fails to get much more action out of lawmakers, White House pressure could help Republicans’ political fortunes by reinforcing negative public perceptions of inaction in the Democratic-led Congress.
The administration and the Federal Reserve have taken several steps to attempt to address credit-market problems caused by rising mortgage defaults, including an administration-brokered industry effort to help people avoid foreclosure.
A House leadership aide said Monday that Democrats already have been planning to address economic security in 2008, including Americans’ struggles with housing, credit-card and college debt. Congress also will debate measures to combat global warming, putting pressure on Mr. Bush to come up with more specifics of his own.