Obama pushes plan to help 'responsible' homeowners refinance

President Obama is pushing Congress to pass his plan to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages.

"I’m sending Congress a plan that will give every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates. No more red tape. No more endless forms," Obama said in his weekly address. "And a small fee on the largest financial institutions will make sure it doesn’t add a dime to the deficit."


Obama's plan would empower all homeowners who are up-to-date on their mortgages to refinance at today's historically low interest rates. The change would be particularly advantageous for underwater homeowners, who are often denied refinancing because their outstanding mortgage balances exceed the value of their homes.

The president said the housing crisis "has been the single biggest drag on our recovery" and admitted that his administration's previous efforts have fallen short.

"I’ll be the first to admit it didn’t help as many folks as we’d hoped," Obama said. "But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying."

A long list of California Democrats warned Wednesday Obama's new anti-foreclosure plan isn't nearly aggressive enough to stabilize the volatile housing market. The lawmakers say the proposal is "encouraging" but falls far short of the relief needed to help the millions of struggling homeowners facing foreclosure. 

In his weekly address, the president also took a veiled shot at Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. 

"It is wrong for anyone to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom," Obama said. "I don’t accept that. None of us should."

Romney told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the government should let the foreclosure crisis "run its course and hit the bottom."