In a largely token vote, the House on Wednesday declined to override President Barack Obama's veto of legislation that could have facilitated the processing of home foreclosure documents.
Obama, in rejecting the bill, said it could worsen problems related to recent revelations that some mortgage lenders have been evicting homeowners using fraudulent or flawed methods to expedite foreclosures.
"The president took the responsible course in refusing to sign the bill, so we can give it a fresh examination in light of these concerns," House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said.
The House vote was 235-185 against overriding the veto. A veto override requires a two-thirds majority.
The legislation was meant to improve interstate commerce by requiring that notarized documents be recognized in any state or federal court. It would have allowed notarized documents to be processed electronically.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., argued that his legislation had no connection to the recent foreclosure problems. "This legislation expressly requires that lawful notarizations be recognized in other states and in no way validates improper notarizations."
"Let's be a little more careful here," responded Conyers. "A million people are losing their homes."
The White House, in explaining the president's veto a month ago, said the legislation could have "unintended consequences on consumer protections." Consumer advocates argued that it could make it difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure documents prepared in other states.
Among the problems that have emerged as lenders try to quickly process the flood of foreclosures caused by the mortgage crisis have been cases of not having a notary public in the room to certify that a signature is valid or having employees sign documents without reading them.
Obama has vetoed only two bills during his presidency. The other addressed a technicality on a defense spending bill. Both were "pocket vetoes," where the president fails to sign a bill within 10 days while Congress is not in session.
Source: The Associated Press.