A House Financial Services subcommittee late Tuesday approved six bills that would rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but that fall short of comprehensive changes to the housing finance system.
The targeted bills, approved by the subcommittee on capital markets and government-sponsored enterprises, cover an array of proposed restrictions on the mortgage giants. One would require Fannie and Freddie, which were placed in a federal conservatorship in 2008, to comply with the Freedom of Information Act as long as they are being run by the government. Another would require the two GSEs to sell assets not critical to their housing missions.
Other proposed reforms moved by the subcommittee include capping government assistance to the firms, revoking their federally-backed charters and eliminating a trust fund supported by Fannie and Freddie for affordable-housing projects.
House Republicans are now pushing a total of 14 bills each with separate ideas for overhauling the firms. But while both parties agree a solution for reforming housing finance is needed, a comprehensive plan has not been offered and it is unclear if any of the current bills will be enacted. In April, the subcommittee similarly passed eight bills that would tweak the system.
"As we continue to move immediate reforms, our ultimate goal remains: to end the bailout of Fannie, Freddie and build a stronger housing finance system that no longer relies on government guarantees," Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said in a press release.