Housing finance reform bill set for Thursday markup

The Senate Banking Committee will consider a measure on Thursday that would eliminate government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

The bill, which was delayed two weeks ago in an effort to attract more Democratic support, is expected to pass the committee with a smaller majority than hoped by its backers. 

Housing industry leaders last week expressed surprise and frustration that six committee Democrats said they weren't prepared to vote for the long-delayed legislation in its current form. 

They said they had hoped Democrats would continue working on making changes, such as ensuring that underserved populations aren't left out and big banks don't control the mortgage market, up until the panel considered the measure.

The latest bipartisan version authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit MORE (D-S.D.) and top Republican Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy McConnell calls for Senate hearings on Russia sanctions MORE (Idaho) is expected to get votes from 12 long-standing supporters of the 22-member panel.

But late last week the group of Democrats — Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (N.Y.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezCNN anchors break into laughter over comedian's alleged prank call to Trump Comedian claims he tricked Trump while impersonating Dem senator Schumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms MORE (N.J.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one Schumer: Trump should cancel meeting with Putin MORE (R.I.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDems pressure GOP to take legal action supporting pre-existing conditions Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy Manufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank MORE (Ohio) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyControversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Anti-Trump protesters hold candlelight vigil by White House Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE (Ore.) — said they couldn’t support the measure.

The major concern is that without a supermajority on the committee, probably around 17 votes, that the bill won’t have enough momentum to pass the Senate and put pressure on the House to act.