Sen. McCain introduces Senate counterpart to reform Fannie, Freddie
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently introduced a bill that aims to end the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and end their conservatorship in two years. The GSE Bailout Elimination and Taxpayer Protection Act is the Senate counterpart to Rep. Jeb Hensarling's (R-Texas) bill introduced for the second time into the House in mid-March. Since the two agencies went into conservatorship in 2008, they have pulled $131 billion from the Treasury Department. According to President Obama's budget, the bailout of Fannie and Freddie will ultimately cost taxpayers $73 billion after dividend repayments by the end of 2021. In addition to ending the GSEs' conservatorship in two years, the bill, which was co-introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), would relinquish the agencies' affordable housing goals, shrink the size of agency portfolios to $250 billion over five years, reduce the conforming loan limit to pre-crisis levels and increase guarantee fees. All these conditions would be effective immediately after the bill is implemented. Sen. McCain introduced an amendment to the Financial Regulatory Reform bill last year essentially doing the same thing. However, the amendment was voted down 43-56 in the Senate. McCain said this year he's not taking no for an answer. "Let me be clear on this — we will not give up until these behemoths have been reined in and the taxpayer is finally off the hook and no longer paying the price for Congress’ poor decisions and inaction," McCain said in his proposal of the bill. "The events of the past three years have made it clear that never again can we allow the taxpayer to be responsible for poorly managed financial entities who gambled away billions of dollars." Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.