Subprime Mortgage Crisis Explained

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, or FERA, Pub.L. 111–21, S. 386, 123 Stat. 1617, enacted May 20, 2009, is a public law in the United States enacted in 2009. The law enhanced criminal enforcement of federal fraud laws, especially regarding financial institutions, mortgage fraud, and securities fraud or commodities fraud.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sponsored the bill.

On April 27, 2009, the Senate invoked cloture on the bill as amended (S. 386) on an 84–4 vote, with eleven not voting. Only four Senators voted no, all Republicans (Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, James Inhofe, and Jon Kyl).  On April 28, the Senate passed the bill on a 92–4 vote, with three not voting; the same Senators who voted against cloture voted against the bill.

On May 6, the United States House of Representatives passed the bill with its own amendment on a 367–59 vote, with six Representatives not voting and one Representative, Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida, case a present vote. All 250 Democrats casting votes, as well as 117 Republicans, voted yes; all of the 59 no votes were cast by Republicans.

The Senate then added an amendment to the House’s amendment. The House accepted the final version of the bill on a 338–52 vote on May 18, with 43 Representatives not voting. All 224 Democrats casting votes, as well as 114 Republicans, voted yes. Fifty-two Republicans voted no.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law on May 20 along with the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, a bill concerned with mortgage foreclosure prevention.