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Vote Delayed on Johnson-Crapo Housing Reform Measure

by Doug Pitorak


One piece of proposed housing reform legislation will have to wait a bit longer than expected. According to a recent report by HousingWire, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee postponed a markup of the Johnson-Crapo housing reform measure in hopes that a two-week recess will allow for more in-favor votes.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, co-author of the bill, told HousingWire that the measure would have received enough support if put to a vote April 29, as planned.

“I am confident that if we held the vote [April 29], we would have more than the minimum number of votes needed to pass it on to the Floor,” Crapo told HousingWire. “Nevertheless, while I do not relish the idea of a short delay, I am pleased that a number of Senators believe with just a brief period of additional time to consider it, they will have the opportunity to productively join us in efforts to reform the current system.

According to HousingWire, Johnson-Crapo would lessen the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and install a system where “financial entities would issue mortgage-back securities and be required to take losses before any government insurance relief is available.”

Threatening the measure is the increasing likelihood that the Senate becomes Republican-led after elections this fall, HousingWire wrote. If that were to happen, Johnson-Crapo would likely be pulled and replaced with more conservative legislation, similar to the House’s PATH Act.

Some critics, such as Coalition for Mortgage Security Director Ken Blackwell, believe the delay of the vote indicates waning support, not more support to come.

“Today’s brief Senate Banking Committee markup session on the Johnson-Crapo bill is an indication of the growing opposition – across the political spectrum – to bad legislation. This bill will not reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac intelligently, it does not protect property rights and it actually keeps in place the mechanisms that could lead to another financial collapse,” Blackwell told HousingWire. “While short in duration, today’s statements from Senator Crapo and Senator Johnson still move us a step closer to invading property rights and establishing an ill-conceived, untested and risky system for housing and mortgages. This will only cause more opposition to mount. There’s a better way to wind down Fannie and Freddie, one that will win bipartisan support while protecting property rights and shareholders.”

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