Home prices are declining and foreclosure filings are skyrocketing. Several prominent companies that engaged in volatile sub prime loans have gone bankrupt or have been bought out, while the people they loaned money to are faced with mortgage bills they often cannot pay. Read the stances of the presidential candidates below. The views of the vice presidential candidates are shown where available.
Barack Obama
Proposes creating a $10 billion fund to help prevent foreclosures, eliminate some taxes and fees for families who must sell and offer counseling to homeowners. Would allow troubled homeowners refinance a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Announced a "credit card bill of rights" to provide disclosure of hidden credit costs. Would provide tax credits to 10 million middle class homeowners who struggle with mortgage costs.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Supports maintaining the role that the two companies play in providing capital to the housing market.
Joe Biden
Voted for the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, which helped shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie, the two federally chartered mortgage giants that were in trouble due to mounting debt. They were eventually taken over by the federal government.
John McCain
Give homeowners the chance to have their loan modified, provided they meet certain criteria. Offers of financial assistance to borrowers contingent upon lending reform. Believes a government bailout should only be a last resort.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Supports government aid to keep the two companies from collapsing.

Mortgage plan
During the second presidential debate on October 7, McCain unveiled a proposal aimed to ease mortgage troubles for many Americans. The plan would direct the federal government to buy up bad mortgage loans from banks and homeowners. They then would be converted into low-interest loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

To qualify, homeowners would have to be delinquent in their payments or be likely to fall behind in the near future. They also would have to live in the home in question -- no investment properties would be eligible. They would need to have demonstrated their creditworthiness when they purchased the property by making a substantial down payment and by providing documentation of their income and other assets.

The McCain campaign's Web site said that the "direct cost of this plan would be roughly $300 billion because the purchase of mortgages would relieve homeowners of 'negative equity' in some homes." It added that money from the $700 billion economic bailout could be used to fund the plan.
Sarah Palin
Stated during the vice presidential debate October 2, "It was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. There was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on Wall Street. And we need to stop that.

"We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all this. It's not the American people's fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of."

Advocates more federal oversight of investment and savings firms.
Obama and McCain: Key Senate Votes from 2005 through 2008

Foreclosure Prevention

July 26, 2008 -- During a Saturday session, the U.S. Senate passes -- by a vote of 72-13 -- the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008. The act provides a backstop for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two organizations were chartered by the U.S. Congress, Fannie Mae in 1938 and Freddie Mac in 1970, to help Americans buy homes. Neither provide loans to purchasers but do buy mortgages from banks and other lenders.

McCain: Did not vote
Obama: Did not vote

Housing Reform Package

April 10, 2008 -- The U.S. Senate passes -- by a vote of 84-12 -- a bill to provide housing reform. The bill offers tax breaks to home builders and other businesses suffering during the economic slump and offers incentives to individuals to buy foreclosed properties.

McCain: Did not vote
Obama: Did not vote

(Sources: CQ Weekly; U.S. Senate Legislation Database)
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The issues that make up American politics have many voices. Here are a few governmental organizations, interest groups and companies from across the political spectrum that are actors in the debate over how best to resolve the housing crisis. * CNN does not endorse external sites.
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