The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 25, 2013
Four years after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the Treasury Department, there has been little serious movement to revamp the housing-finance giants and the $10 trillion U.S. mortgage market that they support.
But a behind-the-scenes effort to jump-start the debate over Fannie's and Freddie's future is under way, and the broad outlines appear to favor winding down the two companies, expanding the role of the private sector and placing more emphasis on government support for rental housing.
These and other recommendations will be at the center of a report scheduled for release on Monday by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank. The group's housing commission is headed by former U.S. Sens. George Mitchell, a Democrat; Republicans Mel Martinez and Kit Bond; and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, who served in the Clinton administration...
Housing-finance reform faces a crowded agenda in Congress, which is preoccupied with deficit reduction, immigration, and guns. Some analysts believe Fannie and Freddie aren't likely to be addressed until next year at the earliest, especially now that the companies are no longer losing money and the housing market has turned around.
But the BPC co-chairs said their report, the product of a 21-member commission that met over 16 months, is a bid to push housing back onto the front-burner. "There's been a kind of stalemate of ideas," said Mr. Cisneros.
Read the full article here