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Brown Accuses Senate Republicans of Betraying Middle Class

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is blasting Republicans for blocking a proposal that he says would help Ohio families keep their homes.

Ohio has the nation's highest foreclosure rate. That's according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Brown has been pushing for a provision that would let judges reduce interest and principal for homeowners falling behind in their payments.

We want to change the law," says Brown, "so that people can stay in their homes and work out the bankruptcy situation. There are likely thousands of families in Ohio, who could save their homes, if the banks could modify these loans.

Banking lobbyists fought fiercely against the proposal. They argue that banks will be unwilling to lend, if judges can change contracts. Republicans, including Ohio's other Senator George Voinovich agree.

If that were to pass," says voinovich, "everybody's the interest on their mortgages are going to go up, because the banks are going to say, well if they can go to the bankruptcy court, we are going to try charge more interest to the people out there to cover our losses in the event they go to bankruptcy.

Brown and his Democratic allies failed to gather enough votes to break the Republicans' filibuster. He says the Senate caved in to the pressure from Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

It's really a betrayal of middle class families and working families," says Brown.

The proposal was offered as an amendment to a larger bill aimed at stopping the foreclosure crisis. The overall package would expand low interest loans for struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages. It would also provide tax credits to bail out homebuilders who are losing money.