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President Obama Saves Congress From Itself On Notary Bill

foreclosed house for sale

President Obama is refusing to sign legislation Congress passed in haste that could theoretically make house foreclosures even easier.   J Pat Carter/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption J Pat Carter/AP Photo

Congressional Democrats have used the revelations that lenders cut corners on the foreclosure process to strike a pro-consumer pose right before the mid-term elections.

How dare those bankers do this after all the bailouts we gave them? has been the Democrats' message.

Which makes really inconvenient that the Democrats who control Congress recently allowed the approval of legislation that arguably could help banks cut even more corners.

The legislation would allow notarized financial documents to be valid across state lines.

And what's even more embarrassing is that it's reportedly unclear, even to congressional leaders, how the legislation cleared both chambers so quickly.

But President Obama is coming to the rescue. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday the president won't sign the "Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act."

The president will not sign H.R. 3808.  Our concern is unintended— the unintended consequences on consumer protections, particularly in light of the home foreclosure issue and developments with mortgage processors.

So the president is exercising a pocket veto, sending that legislation back to Congress to iron out some of those unintended consequences.

The Washington Post reports that congressional Democrats are trying figure out how the system broke down on this one.

This is one of those rare times Democrats probably wouldn't have minded if Republicans had tied up the legislation with a pesky filibuster or something.

From the WaPo:

Democratic leaders on the Hill were scrambling to figure out how the bill managed to sail through both chambers of Congress without any objection. The episode may prove embarrassing for Democrats who in recent weeks have been calling for federal investigations into flawed paperwork, forged documents and other kinds of misconduct in foreclosure proceedings initiated by big lenders.

The House passed the bill in April by a voice vote, meaning there's no record of who voted for or against the legislation. The Senate passed the bill on Sept. 27, just before recess, without any debate.

Even the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), was surprised by how quickly the legislation was greenlighted, according to D.J. Jordan, a representative for Aderholt.

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