House Approves Amendment Limiting G-Fee Use
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The House yesterday approved a Mortgage Bankers Association-supported amendment that would bar use of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit guaranty fees and a Federal Reserve bank stock dividend cut as funding sources for a highway spending authorization bill.
By a 354-72 vote, the House approved the amendment, introduced by Reps. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., that removed extension of an increase in g-fees and a Federal Reserve Bank stock dividend cut as funding sources for the highway authorization bill.
"MBA commends the full House for its strong bipartisan vote to pass the Neugebauer-Huizenga amendment and remove from the highway bill an extension of higher Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee fees that would have served as a tax on homeownership, as well as a harmful reduction in the dividend paid on Federal Reserve bank stock," said MBA President and CEO David Stevens, CMB. "Given the widespread support for the amendment from Republicans and Democrats alike, we will continue to strongly advocate for the House position as House and Senate leaders meet to reconcile the differences between the two chambers' highway bills."
MBA, which has long-opposed use of g-fees for purposes other than to guard against credit losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to protect taxpayers from mortgage losses, fought hard for the Neugebauer-Huizenga amendment. It sent letters this week to House members (including a joint letter (http://mba.informz.net/MBA/data/images/Neugebauer-Huizenga amdt to HR22 (FINAL) (002).pdf) with other industry trade groups) and issued two separate Calls to Action through the Mortgage Action Alliance, its grassroots advocacy arm. Those efforts resulted in nearly 850 MAA members sending communication to 257 House members in support of the amendment.
MBA said the g-fee increase, first enacted in 2011, has "harmed homeowners, continues to do so every day, and should not be extended to fund unrelated federal spending. Using the housing GSEs as a piggybank to fund unrelated government programs is bad policy--plain and simple--and it puts the nascent housing market recovery in jeopardy."
The House approved the full highway reauthorization bill by a 363-64 vote.
MBA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Bill Killmer noted, however, the g-fee battle is far from over. The highway reauthorization bill, which passed the Senate last month, now goes to a House-Senate conference committee. "The two chambers will need to resolve the differences between their two highway reauthorization bills," he said. "The Senate bill still contains the harmful g-fee extension and Federal Reserve dividend cuts."