The Senate is currently debating a bill aimed at helping stem the foreclosure crisis. By far the most controversial provision was an amendment that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify a mortgage, including reducing the amount owed which is know as a "cramdown."
The major banks, including those that are currently using government money and protection as a means of avoiding bankruptcy themselves, opposed the cramdown provision.
I'm no bankruptcy judge, but I believe current law allows for a cramdown of a mortgage on an investment property, a second home, and on commercial properties. So it is only a mortgage on a primary residence, you know the one that people really need to avoid being put into the street, that does not allow for a reduction in principal.
A sensible provision that may provide for an actual reduction in foreclosures during these unusually bad economic times may be just what we need; sadly it may also be just what our government is unable to deliver.
For more details on the cramdown, visit Senatus or OpenCongress