Home lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be left untouched for now by financial reform legislation, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday.
Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee who's been a lead Republican negotiator on a financial reform bill, said that the legislation under consideration wouldn't deal with the two government-administered companies, but that lawmakers hope to revisit regulation of the companies soon.
"I would have liked to have seen the Fannie and Freddie reforms in this bill," Corker said during an appearance on SNBC. "They're not going to be in this bill."
Fannie and Freddie have received $400 billion in direct assistance from the government over the past two years, and more support in the form of implicit guarantees for the company's bondholders.
The companies, which were initially chartered by the government, were taken into conservatorship by the government at the height of the financial crisis. Since then, critics have accused the Obama administration of using them as a policy instrument to jolt the housing market back into shape, at risk of creating the type of problems that first fueled the financial crisis.
Corker said that the bill on which senators are working should stay focused for now, and that he hopes the Congress could return to reforming Fannie and Freddie soon.
"Obviously it's a big issue that needs to be addressed," he said. "But my hope is we'll do that very, very soon."
"It's a huge issue, and I think the thing we've got to protect against is that we do something in this legislation that makes the Fannie and Freddie issue even worse," Corker added.