Obama touts mortgage refinancing to help economic recovery

"After the worst recession in our lifetimes, a crisis that followed the collapse of the housing market, it’s going to take a long time for the economy to fully recover," he said. 

Nevada has consistently led the nation in foreclosures and has the greatest number of mortgages that are underwater, 61.1 percent, mostly caused by a 52 percent drop in home prices during the housing bust. 

Since the Obama administration announced changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) last fall to spur more refinancing, Nevada has seen a 240 percent rise in modifications. 

Ahead of the president's speech, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said the administration is backing three bills, all introduced this week by Senate Democrats, that could nix the final hurdles for borrowers who have kept up with loan payments but have been unable to refinance. 

Senate Republicans have shown some interest in supporting the legislation. 

"There are plenty of steps that we can take to speed up the recovery right now," Obama said. "There are things we can do right now to help create jobs and help restore some of the financial security that too many families have lost," he said.

Obama took a jab at congressional Republicans for wanting to cut taxes for the nation's highest income earners and slash rules for banks and financial institutions under Dodd-Frank instead of focusing on job-creating legislation. 

"They think that all we can do are try the things that have been done in the past, things that they’ve tried in the past," Obama said.

"We tried their ideas for nearly a decade and they didn’t work," he said. 

"And I refuse to sell this country short by going back to the exact same ideas that helped to get us in this mess in the first place."

Obama said he wants to end tax breaks for companies that move jobs and factories overseas and use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that bring jobs back here. He also wants to provide tax cuts to small businesses for hiring, extend tax credits that are set to expire for clean energy companies and create a Veterans Jobs Corps to spur more hiring of veterans.