CRAPO STATEMENT AT HEARING ON HOUSING FINANCE REFORM
September 12, 2013
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks during a Banking Committee hearing on housing finance reform:
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
"There seems to be more traction toward moving forward with housing finance reform than there has been at any point during the five-year conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"Mr. Chairman, thank you for making this a top priority of this Committee, during this Congress.
"In March of this year, this subject became one of our first hearings. Now, I look forward to working toward a solution with you and all of the Senators on this Committee.
"Many other people also deserve credit for getting the ball moving on this important topic.
"Senators Corker, Warner, and all of the co-sponsors of their bill, have worked collaboratively in developing a proposal that will help shape our debate as we move forward, and I thank them and their staffs for their hard work.
"There are many other Senators on this Committee who may not have introduced legislation, but have put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into the issue behind the scenes, advocating for a resolution.
"Chairman Hensarling, likewise, deserves a lot of credit and our thanks for his work in moving a proposal out of the House Financial Services Committee.
"In fact, given the President’s recent comments, it appears we now are experiencing the first moment since the crisis that the White House, the Senate and the House are all moving forward or advocating for reform.
"Given this circumstance, we must use this opportunity to concentrate on building consensus around ending the conservatorships, while building a stable secondary market that brings back private capital and avoids repeating the mistakes of the past.
"As I noted, a tremendous amount of work on this topic has already been done by many of the Committee’s Senators and we must not lose this momentum.
"As such, the Banking Committee intends to hold a series of hearings to gain insight from experts, regulators and stakeholders to ensure that the Committee moves forward in as educated a fashion as is possible.
"These hearings will provide a more in-depth analysis of some of the necessary components of reform, with a goal toward marking up a bipartisan bill by the end of the year.
"There will be costs and trade-offs associated with every decision that we make.
"As we evaluate those trade-offs, I am pleased to have before us a panel that represents decades of real experience in, and study of, our mortgage markets.
"I look forward to hearing from the witnesses, gaining their input and analysis about what are the essential elements of any reform.
"It will also be helpful to hear what questions we need to be asking to arrive at the best solutions.
"Despite the tough decisions that lie ahead, our task is vital.
"For more than five years, our housing finance system has remained in limbo, unable to innovate or even function outside of massive government intervention.
"In those five years, we have seen other financial markets recover, while watching the housing market remain stagnant.
"During those same five years, we watched the bill to American taxpayers rise to nearly $200 billion, while simultaneously creating numerous legal questions that our courts may be sorting out for years to come.
"This cannot be allowed to continue.
"Chairman Johnson and I were able to work together with the Senators on the Banking Committee to pass the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Solvency Act of 2013 out of Committee with a large bipartisan vote.
"As a Committee, we must recreate that consensus while turning our full attention to reforming the government-sponsored entities (GSEs) and our broader housing finance market.
"Hopefully, our past work, and the further collaboration of many of our Senators, has engendered a level of trust and goodwill that can lead this Committee to a strong product, with an equally strong level of support.
"Mr. Chairman, again, thank you and I look forward to working with you and all members of the Committee as we move forward."