In his March 29 address to conference participants, House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Chair Barney Frank (D-MA) praised the work of the NLIHC. Discussing housing finance reform, Mr. Frank said, “We have an important role to play in affordable multifamily housing in whatever we do.” As Congress grapples with the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he noted that since 2008, the GSEs have steadily reduced their losses, reducing the urgency to act now. He also said that even some Members of Congress who would have done away with Fannie and Freddie a year ago now understand that government has to play a role in the mortgage system.
Mr. Frank said his main goal for housing finance reform would be to create a system in which those that buy up loans and package them will have to pay a fee. This fee would go into the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). He believes that capitalizing the NHTF can be accomplished, because cooperation by the minority party in the House will be needed to get any housing finance reform passed. He added that he has the commitment of HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to support capitalizing the NHTF in this way.
Mr. Frank has spoken at the NLIHC conference for many years and always receives a warm welcome because of his career long commitment to affordable housing. This year was no different. He received a spontaneous standing ovation when he entered the room.