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Five big banks will have three years to make good on a $26 billion promise. Will the settlement for abuse and deception come in time to help the economy? We hear from experts and homeowners on the front lines of America’s mortgage crisis. Also, President Obama stays on the offensive on the payroll tax cut, and China's next leader visits the US.

Banner image: A foreclosed and now bank owned house that is for sale in the Spring Valley area of Las Vegas. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Obama Stays on Offense on the Payroll Tax Cut 7 MIN, 20 SEC

Yesterday, House Republican leaders backed off their insistence on spending reductions to cover renewal of the two percent cut in the payroll tax, scheduled to lapse at the end of this month. Today, President Obama sounded skeptical. "You can't take anything for granted here in Washington until my signature is actually on it… So we've got to keep making sure the American people's voices keep breaking through, until this is absolutely, finally, completely done." Jennifer Bendery is Washington correspondent for the Washington Post.

Jennifer Bendery, Huffington Post (@jbendery)

Main Topic Mortgage Settlement: Homeowner Relief or a Break for Banks? 35 MIN, 58 SEC

Five major banks have agreed to a deal that was good enough for 49 of the 50 state attorney's general, but millions of homeowners aren't so sure. Even President Obama says, "It's just a start."  Others call it "a drop in the ocean," "a paltry down-payment" and "public relations." It covers only about two million of the 11 million who are under water. Cash settlements for improper foreclosures will be less than $2,000. Banks can still be sued for abuse and deception, and they've agreed to pay $26 billion up front. But negative equity totals $700 billion. Many questions remain about administration and enforcement. We get a range of answers from advocates, bankers and homeowners in distress. (This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network.)

Nelson Schwartz, New York Times (@NelsonSchwartz)
William Riley, underwater mortgage holder
David Lykken, Mortgage Banking Solutions (@DavidLykken)
Elizabeth Pollock, underwater mortgage holder
Claudia Cappio, California Housing Finance Agency (@CalHFA)
Bruce Marks, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America

Reporter's Notebook Visit by Chinese VP Offers US Chance to Reset Tone with Beijing 7 MIN, 25 SEC

China's next leader is in Washington today, at the start of a trip across the country. Since that country's leadership changes only once every ten years, it could be a crucial moment. When he welcomed China's Vice President to the US this morning, Vice President Biden told Xi Jinping, "We're not always going to see eye to eye." Later, there was a meeting with President Obama, who expressed his belief that "a strong and prosperous China is one that can help to bring stability and prosperity to the region and to the world." Nathan Hodge is national security reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal (@nohodge)

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