Housing finance reform bill back on the agenda for next week

The Senate Banking Committee is expected to resume consideration next week of a measure to overhaul the mortgage finance system, a panel aide said Tuesday.

The markup was delayed a week ago as panel leaders sought more Democratic votes for a bill that would eliminate government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over five years and shift more of the mortgage risk to the private sector.

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The panel hasn't chosen a specific day.

The bipartisan legislation — crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (D-S.D.) and panel ranking member Mike CrapoMike CrapoOvernight Regulation: Senate Banking panel huddles with regulators on bank relief | FCC proposes 2M fine on robocaller | Yellowstone grizzly loses endangered protection Overnight Finance: Big US banks pass Fed stress tests | Senate bill repeals most ObamaCare taxes | Senate expected to pass Russian sanctions bill for second time All big US banks pass Dodd-Frank stress tests MORE (R-Idaho) — had enough votes to gain committee approval but supporters wanted to attract more lawmakers to give it greater momentum heading to the Senate floor.

While most lawmakers agree that Fannie and Freddie need to be scrapped, there are broader concerns that big banks will have an advantage in the mortgage process, that the bill doesn't do enough to help borrowers in underserved areas, that mortgages could get more expensive and that the measure lacks enough affordable housing initiatives. 

Whether those issues have been worked out was unclear. 

Many of the outstanding issues under negotiation are a direct result of new concepts the bill proposes.

Lawmakers are wading into "unchartered waters," said Jerry Howard of the National Association of Home Builders.

While there were some concerns about halting progress on the bill, housing industry experts said that it was better to address the sticking points now instead of waiting for a floor fight.

Bill advocates argue that fixing the measure represents the last major reform needed since the 2008 financial crisis.

As of last week, 12 members — six Democrats and six Republicans — on the 22-member panel supports the bill. 

At the time of the postponement, the bill's authors and industry supporters downplayed the delay, saying they welcomed the additional time to build broader support among several Republicans and Democrats on the panel including GOP Sens. David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator Former senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry MORE (La.) and Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (Okla.) and Democrats Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Dems step up protests ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Senate Dems plan floor protest ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Dem senator: Don't bet against McConnell on ObamaCare repeal MORE (N.Y.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren goes on tweetstorm over GOP ObamaCare repeal bill Warren: Dems should campaign on single-payer healthcare plan Senate Dems step up protests ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (Mass.), Jeff Merkeley (Colo.) and Robert MenendezRobert MenendezBipartisan group, Netflix actress back bill for American Latino Museum The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations MORE (N.J.).