| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2961 (rfs) To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize a 3-year [Referred in Senate] ...
H.R. 2961 (rfs) To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize a 3-year [Referred in Senate] ...
108th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 2961 To provide mortgage assistance to firefighters. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES July 25, 2003 Mr. Pascrell (for himself, Mrs. Emerson, Mr. Pallone, Mrs. McCarthy of New York, Mr. Weldon of Pennsylvania, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Holden, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, Mr. Rahall, Mr. Davis of Tennessee, Mr. Rehberg, Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Stenholm, Mr. Owens, and Ms. Woolsey) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To provide mortgage assistance to firefighters. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Firefighters Affordable Housing Act''. SEC. 2. MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS. (a) In General.--The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development may make mortgage assistance payments under this section on behalf of volunteer firefighters to reduce the interest rates on eligible mortgage loans under subsection (b) for such firefighters. (b) Eligible Mortgages.--Assistance may be provided under this section only for a mortgage loan that meets the following requirements: (1) Firefighter mortgagor.--The mortgagor under the loan is a volunteer firefighter. (2) Principal residence.--The residence subject to the mortgage is a single family residence that is the principal residence of the mortgagor. (3) Maximum mortgage amount.--The principal obligation of the mortgage loan does not exceed the principal amount eligible for insurance with respect to the property under the National Housing Act. (4) Responsible mortgagee.--The mortgage has been made to, and is held by, a mortgagee that is federally insured or that is otherwise approved by the Secretary as responsible and able to service the mortgage properly. (c) Interest Rate Buydowns.--Mortgage assistance under this section shall be provided only in the form of a payment or payments to the mortgagee in amounts sufficient to decrease by 2 percent the annual rate of interest payable on the mortgage by the eligible volunteer firefighter who is the mortgagor. Such payments may be made on an up- front basis or an ongoing monthly basis, as the Secretary considers appropriate. (d) Terms of Assistance.-- (1) Termination.--The Secretary shall establish limitations on mortgage assistance payments under this section to ensure that a mortgagor may not receive the benefit of a reduced mortgage interest from such payments for any portion of the term of a mortgage remaining after the occurrence of either of the following: (A) Failure to use as principal residence.--The mortgagor ceases to comply with the requirement under subsection (b)(2). (B) Termination of duties as firefighter.--During the 10-year period beginning upon the execution of the mortgage, the mortgagor ceases to comply with the requirement under subsection (b)(1). The Secretary may carry out his paragraph by terminating any ongoing assistance payments under this section or by recapturing from the mortgagor the amount of any assistance payment made on an up-front basis that the Secretary determines is attributable to reducing the interest rate for the portion of the mortgage term remaining after an occurrence described in subparagraph (A) or (B). (2) One-time assistance.--The Secretary may make assistance payments under this subsection with respect only to a single mortgage loan of an eligible volunteer firefighter. (e) Applications.--The Secretary shall provide for volunteer firefighters to submit applications for mortgage assistance under this section and for review of such applications to determine eligibility for such assistance. Assistance shall be made available on a first- come, first-served basis for applications eligible for such assistance. (f) Report.--The Secretary shall submit to the Congress, not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, a report containing a description of the activities of the Secretary under the mortgage assistance program under this section and an analysis of the effectiveness of such program in assisting home buyers that are eligible volunteer firefighters. (g) Definitions.--For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply: (1) Public agency.--The term ``public agency'' means the United States, any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and any other territory or possession of the United States, or any unit of general local government, department, agency, or instrumentality of any entity referred to in this paragraph. (2) Public fire service.--The term ``public fire service'' means a public agency consisting of personnel, apparatus, and equipment which has as its primary purpose the provision of services to protect property and maintaining the safety and welfare of the public from the dangers of fire, regardless of whether the personnel of any such organization include paid employees. Such term includes a public agency that also provides ambulance services or rescue services. (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. (4) Single family residence.--The term ``single family residence'' means a 1- to 4-family residence. Such term includes a unit in a cooperative. (5) Volunteer firefighter.-- (A) In general.--The term ``volunteer firefighter'' means an individual who-- (i)(I) carries out duties for a public fire service that consist primarily of work directly connected with-- (aa) the control and extinguishment of fires or the maintenance and use of firefighting apparatus and equipment; or (bb) if the public fire service for which the individual carries out duties provides ambulance or rescue services, the provision of ambulance or rescue services or the maintenance of ambulance or rescue apparatus or equipment; and (II) does not receive any remuneration in the form of pay, salary, or wages for conducting the duties referred to in subclause (I); or (ii) otherwise serves on a volunteer basis as a firefighter, as determined by the Secretary. (B) Allowable benefits.--An individual described in subparagraph (A) shall not be excluded from treatment under this section as a volunteer firefighter because such individual is provided, in connection with the duties referred to in subparagraph (A)-- (i) reimbursement or allowance for expenses actually incurred; (ii) insurance coverage for injuries proximately caused by such duties; (iii) food and lodging while on service for such duties; or (iv) any other benefits that the Secretary determines are appropriate for purposes of this section. (h) Regulations.--The Secretary shall issue any regulations necessary to carry out this section. (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated for assistance payments under this section $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. SEC. 3. REDUCED FHA DOWNPAYMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR LOANS FOR PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS. (a) In General.--Section 203(b) of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1709(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ``(10) Reduced downpayment requirements for professional firefighters.-- ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding paragraph (2), in the case of a mortgage described in subparagraph (B)-- ``(i) the mortgage shall involve a principal obligation in an amount that does not exceed the sum of 99 percent of the appraised value of the property and the total amount of initial service charges, appraisal, inspection, and other fees (as the Secretary shall approve) paid in connection with the mortgage; ``(ii) no other provision of this subsection limiting the principal obligation of the mortgage based upon a percentage of the appraised value of the property subject to the mortgage shall apply; and ``(iii) the matter in paragraph (9) that precedes the first proviso shall not apply and the mortgage shall be executed by a mortgagor who shall have paid on account of the property at least 1 percent of the cost of acquisition (as determined by the Secretary) in cash or its equivalent. ``(B) Mortgages covered.--A mortgage described in this subparagraph is a mortgage-- ``(i) under which the mortgagor-- ``(I) is a firefighter; and ``(II) has not, during the 12-month period ending upon the insurance of the mortgage, had any present ownership interest in a principal residence located in the jurisdiction described in clause (ii); and ``(ii) made for a property that is located within the jurisdiction served by the public fire service or rescue or ambulance agency that employs the mortgagor. ``(C) Definitions.--For purposes of this paragraph, the following definitions shall apply: ``(i) Firefighter.--The term `firefighter' means an individual-- ``(I) who is employed on a full- time basis by a public fire service or a private firefighting brigade; and ``(II) the duties of whose position are primarily to perform work directly connected with (aa) the control and extinguishment of fires or the maintenance and use of firefighting apparatus and equipment, or (bb) if the public fire service or private firefighting brigade employing the individual provides ambulance or rescue services, the provision of ambulance or rescue services or the maintenance of ambulance or rescue apparatus or equipment. ``(ii) Public agency.--The term `public agency' means the United States, any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and any other territory or possession of the United States, or any unit of general local government, department, agency, or instrumentality of any entity referred to in this subparagraph. ``(iii) Public fire service.--The term `public fire service' means a public agency consisting of personnel, apparatus, and equipment which has as its primary purpose the provision of services to protect property and maintaining the safety and welfare of the public from the dangers of fire. Such term includes a public agency that also provides ambulance service or rescue services.''. (b) Deferral and Reduction of Up-Front Premium.--Section 203(c) of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1709(c)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (2), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ``Notwithstanding'' and inserting ``Except as provided in paragraph (3) and notwithstanding''; and (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ``(3) Deferral and reduction of up-front premium.--In the case of any mortgage described in subsection (b)(10)(B): ``(A) Paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection (relating to collection of up-front premium payments) shall not apply. ``(B) If, at any time during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the insurance of the mortgage, the mortgagor ceases to be a firefighter (as such term is defined in subsection (b)(10)(C)) or pays the principal obligation of the mortgage in full, the Secretary shall at such time collect a single premium payment in an amount equal to the amount of the single premium payment that, but for this paragraph, would have been required under paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection with respect to the mortgage, as reduced by 20 percent of such amount for each successive 12-month period completed during such 5-year period before such cessation or prepayment occurs.''. <all>
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