G-Fee Hike Off the Budget

The federal budget deal unveiled by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., late Tuesday does not include a hike in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee fees, according to sources.

At one point during the budget negotiations, it appeared a hike in g-fees was on the table until Senate Banking Committee leaders got wind of it and raised objections.

Using g-fee revenue to offset other government spending would make reforming Fannie and Freddie “more difficult because it increases the price tag” of any GSE reform legislation, according to committee chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and ranking GOP member Mike Crapo of Idaho.

Any use of the guarantee fees as offsets “could limit our ability to achieve real reform,” the senators warned in a Dec. 5 letter.

With the g-fee issue behind them, Johnson and Crapo appeared at a housing forum Wednesday.

The committee chairman indicated that their efforts to produce a bipartisan GSE reform is still a work in progress and they will not be able to release a draft of the GSE bill by yearend. Johnson noted they will not be able meet their yearend goal due to the complexity of GSE reform, other legislative issues as well as an unanticipated 16-day government shutdown.

“We were thrown a couple of curve balls over the last few months,” the chairman said.

He went on to praise Crapo for his efforts to produce a bipartisan proposal to reform the housing finance system. “Equally important, our staffs also are working just as well together, and they continue to work side-by-side, night and day, to get us to the finish line,” Johnson said.

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