Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., appears to be withholding his support from the GSE bill proposed by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala."I have a number of concerns with the proposed committee print," Sen. Sarbanes said. "The focus needs to be on having a first-class regulator. In doing so, we must be careful not to diminish the housing mission or run the risk of upsetting the housing finance system which has served the nation so well." The ranking Democrat on the committee did not outline his concerns, but one of the most contentious issues appears to be a provision that would provide Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's new regulator with receivership powers, which could upset investors. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has been slow in endorsing the Shelby bill. Washington insiders are beginning to wonder whether the April 1 mark-up of the bill by the Senate Banking Committee will be postponed.

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