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Obama urges Congress to help homeowners

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President Obama on Saturday urged Congress to pass his plan to ease mortgage refinancing for more cash-strapped homeowners.

"Back in February, I sent Congress a plan to give every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at lower rates," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

The president's remarks followed Wednesday's housing market report from analytics firm Fisery that showed home prices slowly recovering in the nation.

"We're moving in the right direction, but we're not there yet. There are still millions of Americans who are struggling with their mortgages, even at a time of historically low rates," the president said.

Mr. Obama urged Congress, which is on a recess, to get behind his refinancing proposals.

"It's a plan that has the support of independent, nonpartisan economists and leaders across the housing industry. But Republicans in Congress worked to keep it from even getting to a vote. And here we are — seven months later — still waiting on Congress to act," he said. "Last week, mortgage rates were at historic lows. But instead of helping more and more hardworking families take advantage of those rates, Congress was away on break."

"The truth is, it's going to take a while for our housing market to fully recover. But it's going to take a lot more time — and cause a lot more hurt — if Congress keeps standing in the way."

The president also took a jab at Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Both candidates are scheduled to square off Wednesday face to face in the first of three presidential debates.

"There are some who think that the only option for homeowners is to just stand by and hope that the market has hit bottom. I don't agree with that," Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Romney, in his weekly prerecorded Saturday address, offered up a blistering critique of the president's handling of the crisis in the Middle East.

The Republicans' weekly address, presented by Arizona congressional candidate Vernon Parker, focused on the state of the economy.

The former mayor of Paradise City, Ariz., said: "We have employers who want to hire and workers who want to work, but government won't get out of the way."

Hear the radio address here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/weekly-address.

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