Senate Banking Committee Discusses Housing Finance Reform

The Senate Committee on Banking held a hearing on June 29 to discuss principles of housing finance reform. Senators expressed increasing interest in a bipartisan housing finance reform bill this year to determine the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the broader housing finance system. The expert witness panel and several Committee Members agreed that one of the primary goals of any housing finance reform legislation must be to address the affordability crisis in the housing market, including the rental market.

Referencing data from NLIHC’s report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) highlighted the nation’s growing affordability crisis and the nationwide shortage of 7.4 million rental homes affordable and available to the lowest income people. Senator Warren called for the Committee to remain focused on increasing affordable housing opportunities, and referenced the 2014 Johnson-Crapo legislative proposal to fund the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the Capital Magnet Fund and Market Access Fund through a 10 basis point fee assessment on users of the new housing finance system. She also stressed the importance of maintaining Fannie and Freddie’s affordable housing goals, which were not included in Johnson-Crapo.  

Many Senators further highlighted that housing finance reform must ensure the availability of affordable and accessible capital in rural and underserved markets.

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