Rep. Oxley Sees Passage of GSE Reform Bill This Year
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) on Jan. 13 told the NAHB leadership that he believes Congress will approve legislation this year to revamp the regulatory structure of the housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Appearing before the NAHB Board of Directors at its winter meeting in Orlando, Fla., Oxley said that there is a consensus in his committee to “solve the GSE problem once and for all.”
“We need a world-class regulator and accounting standards that are first-class,” he added.
The House Financial Services Committee last spring approved H.R. 1461, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005, on a strong bipartisan 65-5 vote. The measure was subsequently approved by the full House in October.
NAHB supports the House bill, noting that it would strengthen and safeguard the financial health of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while enabling them to continue to fulfill their mission of providing affordable housing credit for millions of working American families.
NAHB opposes a counterpart measure (S. 190) approved last July by the Senate Banking Committee because it fails to adequately address the nation’s housing needs.
The legislation approved by the Senate panel would severely curtail the investment portfolios of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and, unlike H.R. 1461, it does not require them to establish funding for affordable housing.
Oxley said he will urge Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) to advance S. 190 through the chamber so that the two bills can be reconciled in a House-Senate conference.
“I look forward to getting this done in 2006,” he said.
Speaking on other important housing issues, Oxley said his committee will continue efforts to advance legislation to reform the national flood insurance program and an FHA zero downpayment pilot program championed by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio).
Oxley also noted that the House Financial Services Committee has passed 11 separate bills relating to helping those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma and that the panel is continuing to hold hearings on the issue.
To keep the economy moving forward, Oxley called for tax cuts approved earlier in the Bush Administration, particularly those pertaining to dividends and capital gains, to be made permanent.
Having previously announced that he will retire from Congress at the end of this session, Oxley told NAHB board members that in the coming year he will continue to work with NAHB to “increase homeownership in this country as far as we can take it.”
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For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.
Photo by Oscar Einzig