Live Chat: Rep. Raúl Grijalva Discusses The Right-To-Rent Bill With Blue America

On June 30th we hosted Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) here at C&L for an open ended discussion that started with the immigration reform debate. Rep. Grijalva has graciously agreed to keep us up to date on what's going on in Congress and in the Progressive Caucus he chairs once a month. He'll be visiting with us again today (in the comments forum below) and I've asked him to talk with us about a new bill he and Marcy Kaptur introduced in April, the Right-To-Rent Act, H.R. 5028. The Obama Administration's somewhat tepid HAMP program isn't working and millions of families are still facing foreclosures by avaricious bankers. Rep. Grijalva's bill would let foreclosed families stay in their homes as renters at a fair market rate set by a judge. If banks don't want to become landlords, they would have incentives to renegotiate the terms of the mortgage. The foreclosure crisis needs exactly this kind of creative, common-sense solution, and the Congressman has been out in front on this issue from the beginning. Dean Baker's Center for Economic and Policy Research called the bill "one of the most efficient and simple ways to help millions of families facing foreclosure remain in their homes."

It would increase the bargaining power and security of homeowners by temporarily changing the rules on foreclosure and allowing homeowners to remain in their homes as renters for a substantial period or time. During this time, homeowners would pay the market rent for the home as determined by an independent assessment.

"Right to Rent immediately gives the homeowner security in their home. They will be allowed to stay there for a substantial period of time, allowing their children to stay in their schools and families to prepare for and plan their future moves," said Baker in his testimony on Wednesday. "Right to Rent also would make foreclosure much less attractive to investors. This gives investors more incentive to modify loans on their own, without the involvement of the government."

The GOP is going after Congressman Grijalva's seat like they never have before. They're trying to stir up divisiveness based on the immigration issue in his southern Arizona district. Blue America has a donation page specifically for his campaign One America and we're hoping you'll visit and leave a little token of your appreciation for his leadership and courage. There's an alternative though-- a memorabilia auction on eBay! We love all of these items, but are particularly fond of the “doodles.” No two are ever alike, and the two that we are auctioning are particularly exceptional, both for their intricate detail (look for the faces and eyes!), as well as for the setting in which they were drawn (Natural Resources Committee hearings concerning Deepwater Horizon).

Check them out!

Our favorites are the CLEAR Act Markup "Doodle” and the Deepwater Horizon & MMS Hearing "Doodle”. There's also a high quality, union made, perfectly tacky Grijalva bowling shirt and a couple of exceptionally cool bumper stickers.

The DCCC sent out an exceptionally well-done clip today pointing to the difference between Obama's vision of Hope and the Republican vision of failure. Please take a look at it. There's no doubt that the Republicans are on a mission to not just obstruct, but to undermine-- everything, from health care reform to the economic recovery and even to the safety of the nation itself. The clip puts forth a strong message, a compelling message. But it just isn't bipartisan enough. After all, it isn't only Republicans who want the single most important piece of Obama's change agenda-- substantive health care reform-- to fail. Plenty of Democrats get the exact same huge handouts from the exact same Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance lobbyists and CEOs. And they will do anything to prevent single payer health care from passing-- or even being brought into the discussion!

I've got the full story up at DownWithTyranny, but John called from the airport and asked me to remind everyone to please consider helping out with the Blue America initiative to save the public option. As John keeps pointing out, health care reform isn't really a Republican vs Democratic issue; it's an issue for the welfare of all American families-- which is why a staggering 83% of Americans want the public option.

Blue America has launched this new campaign to persuade senators who routinely take a great deal of money from Big Insurance to work for their constituents, not for their campaign contributors. We are working with Brave New Films to put together a series of TV commercials that we will start running next month in Arkansas, home of two anti-reform Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Please read more about the plan-- and consider helping us put it into effect-- here at our Blue America page.

Paid for by Blue America PAC,, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.