Seeking to make Congress a major issue in his re-election bid, President Obama called on lawmakers Saturday to pass a bill designed to help struggling homeowners re-finance their properties.
"Last week, mortgage rates were at historic lows," Obama said in his Saturday radio address. "But instead of helping more and more hardworking families take advantage of those rates, Congress was away on break."
The proposal would "give every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at lower rates," Obama said.
Obama noted it has been four years since the nation's financial meltdown, an event brought on largely by "reckless behavior in the housing market."
Elected in the wake of the financial crisis, Obama's re-election campaign against Republican opponent Mitt Romney has featured frequent attacks on a GOP-run U.S. House that has blocked many White House initiatives.
"The truth is, it's going to take a while for our housing market to fully recover," Obama said. "But it's going to take a lot more time -- and cause a lot more hurt -- if Congress keeps standing in the way."
House Republicans note that the Democrats run the Senate, and say the housing market remains slow because Obama policies -- health care, new business regulations -- have slowed the economy.
"Republicans in Congress have advanced common-sense proposals to remove these government barriers to job creation in America," said Arizona U.S. House candidate Vernon Parker in the weekly Republican radio address.
"But President Obama? He puts government first."