Over five years after taxpayers footed a $188 billion bailout to rescue mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday announced it will continue discussions and in the near future vote on the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protect Act (S.
1217), a bill introduced last year by Senator Bob Corker and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 10 senators.
“The work we’ve done to craft a bipartisan bill to strengthen our housing finance system is a model for what can happen when legislators put politics aside and come to the table committed to solving the big problems facing our nation,” said Senator Corker. “After a dozen hearings on housing finance reform, there is broad bipartisan support to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to protect the American taxpayer from future bailouts. I appreciate Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Crapo’s leadership throughout this process, and I look forward to continuing constructive talks to finalize the bill.”
In June 2013, Senators Corker and Warner introduced S.1217 to strengthen America’s housing finance system by replacing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a privately-capitalized system that preserves market liquidity and protects taxpayers from future economic downturns.
In 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken into government conservatorship and given a $188 billion capital injection from taxpayers to stay afloat. As a result of this bailout, the private market has almost completely disappeared, and so nearly every loan made in America today comes with a full government guarantee. Despite this unsustainable situation, there still has been no real reform to our housing finance system since the financial crisis, officials said.
In addition to Senators Corker and Warner, S. 1217 is currently cosponsored by Senators Mike Johanns (R-Ne.), Jon Tester (D-Mt.), Dean Heller (R-Ne.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Ks.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Il.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and Mark Begich (D-Ak.), which includes five Republicans and five Democrats from the Senate Banking Committee.