WASHINGTON  - US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to approve his plan to provide relief to millions of homeowners who are having trouble paying mortgages.

“In order to lower mortgage payments for millions of Americans, we need Congress to act,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “They’re the ones who have to pass this plan.”

The $5-10-billion plan, showcased by Obama this past week, would be financed by a portion of a fee on the most wealthy US banks.

The blueprint is intended to help borrowers who are up to date on their mortgages to refinance and take advantage of low interest rates, which could save an average of $3,000 a year.

It will simplify mortgage disclosure forms, so people can better understand the loans they take out and offer support to help those facing foreclosure to stay in their homes.

The plan also includes a government-led effort to make foreclosed properties that cannot be sold available to renters.

Obama urged people who agree with this plan to call, email or visit their representatives in Congress and demand its passage.

“Tell them to pass this plan,” the president said. “Tell them to help more families keep their homes, and more neighborhoods stay vibrant and whole.”

He cautioned, however, that “it will take time” for the US housing market to recover and for the economy to fully bounce back.