Banking Panel to Vote April 29 on Housing Finance Reform

Senate Banking Committee leaders said Friday they would hold a panel vote on April 29 to reform the housing finance system.

The timing of the vote is slightly later than expected. Many observers had anticipated Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, would try to hold the markup prior to a congressional two-week that begins April 12. Scheduling it for shortly after the recess ends, however, allows lawmakers and staff to continue to work on issues surrounding the bill during the break.

Pinpointing a specific date also shows the panel is serious about trying to move the bill forward in the hopes of possibly bringing it to the full Senate later this year.

"After canvassing other members of the committee, we plan to schedule a markup of our bipartisan housing finance reform proposal on Tuesday, April 29," said Johnson, who chairs the banking panel, in a joint press release. "From the start, members of the Committee have been extremely engaged on the issue and have demonstrated a sincere interest in advancing reform in a bipartisan manner. I look forward to a thoughtful debate in committee as we seek to move reform one step closer to the finish line."

The bill would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and create a system akin to federal deposit insurance for the mortgage market. The bill would create a new regulator, the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp., that would backstop catastrophic losses on mortgage-backed securities that met certain criteria.

"It is critical that we vote on reforming our broken housing system," Crapo said. "We have produced a strong, bipartisan product, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this legislation forward and end the five-year-plus status quo."

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