Johnson-Crapo bill, thought dead, is back on agenda

by Ryan Smith12 May 2014
Is he just beating a dead horse now? Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson announced this afternoon that the committee will reconvene Thursday to continue consideration of a mortgage reform bill many say is dead in the water.

The bill, written by Johnson (D-S.D.) and committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new government mortgage insurer and move more of the risk onto the shoulders of private capital. But the bill suffered a potentially fatal blow last week when six key Senate Democrats withdrew their support.

The seantors – Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Charles Shumer (D-N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) – said the bill needed major revision, according to Bloomberg. They felt the structure of the new federal reinsurer was problematic and that the bill didn’t contain sufficient support for affordable housing goals. But without more Democratic support, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is unlikely to bring the bill before the full chamber, the Washington Post reported.

Still, Johnson isn’t giving up on the bill. A spokesman for his office said last week that he would continue building support for the legislation.
The hearing on the bill will convene Thursday at 10 a.m. Eastern Time in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
 
 

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