FEATURED:

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 JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonSeveral hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada MORE (D-S.D.) and panel ranking member Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoLawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Republicans shift course after outside counsel falters 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 Bruce VitterSenate panel advances Trump nominee who wouldn't say if Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly Planned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge MORE (La.) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnAmerican patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access Live coverage: Donnelly, Braun clash in Indiana debate The Hill's Morning Report — How will the Kavanaugh saga impact the midterms? MORE (Okla.) and Democrats Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (N.Y.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren and Sanders question Amazon CEO over Whole Foods anti-union video Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel MORE (Mass.), Jeff Merkeley (Colo.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezTrump lowers refugee goal to 30,000, he must meet it Blame Senate, not FBI, for Kavanaugh travesty Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE (N.J.).