Hensarling sees quick action on Republican housing reform bill

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) can foresee a vote on his bill to phase out housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac soon, following a committee markup before the August congressional recess.

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Hensarling, in an appearance airing Sunday on Bloomberg TV's “Capitol Gains,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is eager to see the proposal on the floor.

“I believe we will pass it out of committee and before the congressional August recess, and then I know that the majority leader is anxious to have this come to my floor. I’ll appear before our conference and take my case to the colleagues. But I don’t know anybody who wants to defend Fannie and Freddie,” Hensarling said.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the government took control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and has pumped $187 billion into them to keep them afloat.

The chairman said that the housing sector needs to be shaken up and he is not worried about stalling its accelerating recovery.

“We want to rock the boat because we need a sustainable housing policy. Number one, it has to be sustainable for home-owners. We've had federal policies that helped put people into homes they couldn't afford to keep,” he said. “The American people want out of the bailout business.”

Speaking on the same program, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the White House does not favor the Hensarling approach.

He said the administration favors a Senate approach, such as that by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that would do more to “maintain access to credit for people who are creditworthy to be able to get mortgages.”

“I think that if you contrast what the conversation in the Senate is to the conversation in the House, it's kind of interesting that one is a bipartisan conversation and the other is not. This is going to require a bipartisan solution, and we look forward to being part of it,” Lew said.

Corker and Warner are trying to gather support for their proposal released last month with the aim of having a September markup in Senate Banking.