The House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade held a hearing, “The U.S. Housing Finance System in the Global Context: Structure, Capital Sources, and Housing Dynamics,” on October 13.
The hearing in part considered H.R. 2413, the Secondary Market Facility for Residential Mortgages Act of 2011, a bill introduced by Subcommittee Chair Gary Miller (R-CA) and Ranking Member Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) on July 6. H.R. 2413 would merge the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a single government-held corporation.
Witnesses at the hearing voiced support for pending congressional housing finance reform efforts, including H.R. 2413. “[H.R. 2413] offers a comprehensive strategy for reforming the secondary mortgage market and gives the federal government a continued role to ensure a consistent flow of mortgage credit in all markets and all economic conditions,” said Moe Veissi, 2011 President-Elect of the National Association of Realtors, in his written testimony.
NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley sent letters to Chair Miller and Ms. McCarthy urging that they include a mechanism to fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) in H.R. 2413 or in other housing finance reform efforts that may be considered by their Subcommittee in the future.
The NHTF initially was intended to be funded through contributions from the GSEs. However, soon after the NHTF was created, the financial crisis hit and the GSEs were taken into conservatorship by their regulator. As such, neither entity has ever made a contribution to the NHTF.
“Based on the precedent of the NHTF being funded through contributions from the GSEs, as well as the great need for affordable rental housing, we urge you to retain this goal as you work to advance your legislation that would create a successor to these entities” said Ms. Crowley in the letters to Chair Miller and Ms. McCarthy.
The letters to Representatives Miller and McCarthy are available at: http://nlihc.org/doc/Miller_NHTF_HR2413_Letter_10-7-11.pdf and http://nlihc.org/doc/McCarthy_NHTF_HR2413_Letter_10-7-11.pdf
Witness testimony and an archived hearing webcast are available at http://financialservices.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=263451