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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Gets Big Surge of Support, Challenging Congress To Act on LaRouche's HBPA

Nov. 30, 2007 (EIRNS)—A packed session in the Pennsylvania legislature on Nov. 29 heard from state financial officials and city council members, EIR researchers, one of Pennsylvania's U.S. Congressmen, and a state judge—as city governments all over the Commonwealth came out for the resolution H.R. 418 of State Rep. Harold James and for what that resolution supports: Congressional action on Lyndon LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act of 2007 (HBPA). At the close of the Nov. 29 hearing of the Pennsylvania House Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, its chairman, Rep. Curtis Thomas, said, "We will move this resolution."

In his own testimony leading off the hearing, Representative James said, "The Homeowners and Bank Protection Act called for in HR 418, is intended to stop the bailout of speculators, hedge funds and inflated financial securities, while at the same time keeping the doors open of the state and Federal chartered banks, especially our local community banks, as real estate values are reduced to reasonable levels. We need a "firewall" of Federal protection for these banks, as suggested by economist Lyndon LaRouche."

With 12 Pennsylvania cities—including its metropolises of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—and the biggest city in neighboring New Jersey all voting for the HBPA in public resolutions issued over the past two weeks, Representative James has tremendous momentum in his campaign to get one or more of Pennsylvania's Federal Congressmen to introduced the crucial measure against mass foreclosures and bank failures, before the banking crisis makes it too late. LaRouche had warned back in early September, that if HBPA were not acted on by October, the wreckage of the U.S. economy by the financial crash, could become unstoppable.

U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, Democrat of Pennsylvania's 11th District, did not endorse the HBPA in his testimony, but said, "I am encouraged by your efforts to help ensure that all of the lawmakers from Pennsylvania in the U.S. Congress understand the interest of the Pennsylvania legislature, about the need to help affected American families to remain in their homes and to protect the U.S. economy." Representative James and his witnesses are now pursuing working meetings with several Pennsylvania Congressmen, challenging them to "move this bill."

'Leadership in the Spirit of 1776'

James described the climax of state support mobilized for the HBPA and Pennsylvania H.R. 418 as the hearing approached.

"Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee," he said, "it is time for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our Congressional delegation to take national leadership, in the Spirit of 1776. Pennsylvania should offer the nation a bipartisan solution to the home foreclosure and banking crisis now upon us, a crisis which threatens to set off an economic collapse worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"We are witnessing the collapse of a financial bubble of Tens of Trillions of dollars of mortgages, mortgage-backed securities and financial derivatives, all based on home prices that were artificially inflated by Federal Reserve policies over the past several years. We are looking at hundreds of thousands of job cuts in financial services, construction, home improvement, and other related sectors. The collapse of consumer spending caused by layoffs and declining home values, as economic growth falls to zero and below, would wipe out 3 million jobs.... The tax revenues of state and local governments would collapse accordingly....

"Mr. Chairman, the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation has an overwhelming mandate for action in this crisis. Municipalities all over this Commonwealth have expressed their support for HR 418, and agree with me and the 40 bipartisan co-sponsors of this resolution, that Congress should take emergency action and introduce the Homeowners and Bank Protection Act. Resolutions of support for HR 418 have been adopted by the City or Borough Councils of New Castle, Johnstown, Erie, Ellwood City, Monessen, West Mifflin, Berwick, Canonsburg, and Sunbury. The Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed a resolution of support for HR 418 two days ago.... The City Clerk of Scranton wrote to me on behalf their Council: "It is with great pleasure that Scranton City Council offers their full support for House Bill 418. It is their hope that our Legislators will support this and take emergency action to protect homeowners and banks by enacting a Homeowners and Banks Protection Act."

A letter from Philadelphia City Council president Anna C. Verna arrived during the hearing; that city council had voted unanimously that very morning: "I write to voice my strong support for your bi-partisan resolution. This calls on the United States Congress to take emergency action to protect homeowners and banks currently threatened by the foreclosure crisis.... This is a national crisis, but we at the local level are bearing the brunt of the problem. I fully support HR 418."

Representative James concluded, "The Newark, New Jersey City Council passed a resolution supporting similar legislation two days ago, which means that the largest city in New Jersey is committed to organizing support from that state's Congressional delegation. Resolutions similar to HR 418 are already pending in other states, like Illinois and Michigan.... If Pennsylvania takes the lead in Congress, I believe that the rest of the nation is ready to follow."

Also on Nov. 29, news media reported that 224,000 more foreclosure actions had been taken against American homeowners just in October; and that 55,000 had actually lost their homes that month, a 35% jump from September's toll. It was reported that lending available to U.S. businesses had shrunk by an unprecedented 9% in three months to November, amid massive bank losses. And Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a speech that night, went into panic mode, promising what he had told Congress two weeks earlier he could not do, another rate cut in December; Wall Street immediately demanded it be a full half percentage point.

When will Congress act?