Out Front on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner [op-ed, Sept. 12] quoted me as saying that the president's suggestion for a strong, independent regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was "inane." The truth is exactly the opposite of what they sought to convey.

In May 2007, four months after the Democrats organized in Congress, the House passed a bill giving the Bush administration everything it asked for in increased regulatory powers over Fannie and Freddie. My reference to the president's inanity came in August and referred to his calling on the House to do what we'd already done.

The question at the time was whether or not Fannie and Freddie could take increased action to try to deal with the mortgage crisis. The House voted to significantly increase regulatory oversight of the two entities so that they could increase their activity in a responsible way. That is why after saying the president's comments were "inane," I said "Tell the Republicans to stop blocking the [House-passed] bill" in the Senate.

Republican obstruction ended in July 2008. So after 12 years in which the Republican Congress had not passed a reform bill, the Democratic Congress gave the Bush administration all that it asked for in 19 months. Who blocked reform?

BARNEY FRANK

U.S. Representative (D-Mass.)

Washington

The writer is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company