In their weekly addresses, both President Barack Obama and House Republicans tried to put some legislative points on the board.
As the 2012 elections heat up, both the White House and its Republican opponents are pushing targeted legislative initiatives that could pass — or at least put the other side in a tough spot. In his address, Obama moved onto the next item on his State of the Union checklist: Mortgage refinancing.
He called on Congress to pass a plan to allow homeowners whose property values have dropped to refinance more easily, saying it could help more than 10 million homeowners save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages.
"What this plan will do is help millions of responsible homeowners who make their payments every month, but who, until now, couldn’t refinance because their home values kept dropping or they got wrapped up in too much red tape," he said.
The plan comes as the House prepares to take up the STOCK Act, which bars lawmakers and some aides from insider trading. That bill, which passed the Senate 96-3 on Thursday, was also mentioned in the State of the Union.
House Republicans are drafting their own wishlist.
In the weekly GOP address, Rep. Patrick Meehan (Pa.) called for Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for a full year and to pass a $260 billion transportation bill that would pay for new roads.
"Instead of more earmarks or new taxes, our bill will remove barriers to job growth by expanding American energy production – which will help lower gas prices – and using the revenue to repair and improve our roads and bridges," he said.
Both sides took the opportunity to ding each other.
In his address, Obama noted that the fate of his proposal lay in Congress' hands.
"As anyone who has followed the news in the last six months can tell you, getting Congress to do anything these days is not an easy job," he said.
Meehan said the Democratic-controlled Senate is responsible for the payroll tax cut.
"Our Democratic colleagues in Washington have a responsibility to tell the nation what they’re prepared to do to extend the payroll tax cut for a full year and give middle-class families and small businesses much-needed certainty," he said.