In 1999, Fannie Mae came under pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers by increasing the ratios of their loan portfolios in distressed inner city areas designated in the CRA of 1977. Because of the increased ratio requirements, institutions in the primary mortgage market pressed Fannie Mae to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to subprime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans. Shareholders also pressured Fannie Mae to maintain its record profits.
Fannie Mae reduces Down Payment RequirementsSaving money for America's home buyers is what Fannie Mae is all about. Everything they do to reduce down payment requirements and slash closing costs means more dreams of homeownership can come true. And because they link the international capital markets with mortgage finance, it allows Fannie Mae to provide the lowest-cost financing for American home buyers.
On September 10, 2003, the Bush Administration recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis. Under the plan, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae. The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set capital-reserve requirements for the company and to determine whether the company is adequately managing the risks of its portfolios. The Times reported Democratic opposition to Bush's plan: "These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing." Congress, controlled by Republicans during this period, did not introduce any legislation aimed at bringing this proposal into law until the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which did not proceed out of committee to the Senate.
On January 26, 2005, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (S.190) was first introduced in the Senate by Sen. Chuck Hagel. The Senate legislation was an effort to reform the existing GSE regulatory structure in light of the recent accounting problems and questionable management actions leading to considerable income restatements by the GSE's. After being reported favorably by the Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in July 2005, the bill was never considered by the full Senate for a vote. Sen. John McCain's decision to become a cosponsor of S.190 almost a year later in 2006 was the last action taken regarding Sen. Hagel's bill in spite of developments since clearing the Senate Committee. Sen. McCain pointed out that Fannie Mae's regulator reported that profits were "illusions deliberately and systematically created by the company's senior management" in his floor statement giving support to S.190.
This Law was filibusted in the Senate by 2 Senators. Chris "double dip" Dodd and the most Liberal Member of the Senate, Barack Huessin Obama.
At the same time, the House also introduced similar legislation, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005 (H.R. 1461), in the Spring of 2005. The House Financial Services Committee had crafted changes and produced a Committee Report by July 2005 to the legislation. It was passed by the House in October in spite of President Bush's statement of policy opposed to the House version. The legislation met with opposition from both Democrats and Liberal Republicans.
Barack Obama's Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac ConnectionFreddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs.
A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and No. 2 was Sen. Barack Obama.
Now remember, he's only been in the Senate four years, but he still managed to grab the No. 2 spot ahead of John Kerry — decades in the Senate — and Chris Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the congressional Democrats and the Clinton White House, designed to make mortgages available to more people and, as it turns out, some people who couldn't afford them.
Fannie and Freddie have also been places for big Washington Democrats to go to work in the semi-private sector and pocket millions. The Clinton administration's White House Budget Director Franklin Raines ran Fannie and collected $50 million. Jamie Gorelick — Clinton Justice Department official — worked for Fannie and took home $26 million. Big Democrat Jim Johnson, recently on Obama's VP search committee, has hauled in millions from his Fannie Mae CEO job.
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