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. 

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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 JohnsonCornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan MORE (D-S.D.) and top Republican Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGOP skeptical of polling on Trump GOP: Trump needs a new plan On The Money: US tops 100,000 coronavirus deaths with no end in sight | How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response | Tenants fear mass evictions 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 SchumerChuck SchumerTrump may be DACA participants' best hope, but will Democrats play ball? Pompeo: US 'certainly looking at' ban on Chinese social media apps like TikTok Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide MORE (N.Y.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThomas Kean wins GOP primary to take on Rep. Tom Malinowski Trump administration moves to formally withdraw US from WHO Senate Dems request briefing on Russian bounty wire transfers MORE (N.J.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSunday shows - FDA commissioner declines to confirm Trump claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are 'harmless' Senate Democrat: Russian bounties intel 'the type of information that has to be seized by the president' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE (R.I.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenConsumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions Tammy Duckworth hits back at Tucker Carlson: 'Walk a mile in my legs' Trump criticizes Redskins, Indians over potential name changes MORE (Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems request briefing on Russian bounty wire transfers On The Money: Mnuchin, Powell differ over how soon economy will recover | Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress | IRS chief pledges to work on tax code's role in racial wealth disparities IRS chief pledges to work with Congress on examining tax code's role in racial wealth disparities MORE (Ohio) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHillicon Valley: QAnon scores wins, creating GOP problem | Supreme Court upholds regulation banning robocalls to cellphones | Foreign hackers take aim at homebound Americans | Uber acquires Postmates QAnon scores wins, creating GOP problem Democratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed plane 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.