On Capitol Hill, New York State Supreme Court Justice F. Dana Winslow has just finished his opening testimony to the House Judiciary Committee about foreclosures and touched on a Catch-22 that's crippling the nation's economy and housing market.
"Many people need to move from one community to another for a job," said Winslow, who usually rules from the bench in Mineola. "They can't. They can't move to get employment because they can't sell the house that they're in and move to another area."
The committee is in a short recess between panels of witnesses on a hearing titled "Foreclosed Justice." Lawmakers want to delve into whether troubled homeowners are getting the loan modifications they need if they're qualified and whether lenders have been providing accurate evidence to foreclose on borrowers.
The hearing is the latest of several on the Hill after the "robo signing" scandal, in which employees of three major lenders admitted to signing thousands of foreclosure-related documents without verifying the information.
To help resolve the crisis, Winslow suggested what he called "equitable predictability." Whatever the borrower can pay monthly, say $2,000, should be the modified loan term, he said. That way, both sides know what to expect and can avoid costly foreclosure proceedings and a forced sale, Winslow said.
He ended his testimony by saying, "I ask for questions galore."