By Peter Schroeder - 04/06/11 02:12 PM EDT
"Americans have seen Democrats flee certain states, and now we’re seeing Democrats in Congress use the same ploy," said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), the chairman of the subcommittee. "The American people want us to end the bailouts, and we hope the Democrats on the committee will start taking this issue — and their responsibilities as legislators — seriously.”
Democrats, meanwhile, criticized the "piecemeal" approach offered by Republicans, arguing it could lead to market uncertainty.
"Undertaking these short-term steps without a vision for what comes next is a risky strategy, given that the entirety of the American housing finance system is at stake," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the subcommittee.
The bills would make a number of changes to how the institutions operate, including limiting bonuses to top executives, repealing affordable housing goals, raising the fees they charge to guarantee mortgages and restricting the size of mortgages they can buy.
The package of bills is the first of several in the works by committee Republicans, who ultimately want to see Fannie and Freddie removed from government support completely. Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) said Tuesday that 16 more bills were in the works, but did not delve into specifics as to their contents or when they might be released.
The panel is adopting a dual-track approach to the topic, simultaneously pushing a broad bill offered by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) that could eliminate Fannie and Freddie within five years. Bachus has indicated that bill will be subject to a committee vote sometime in early May.