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Housing finance reform advocate Sen. Bob Corker will not seek re-election in 2018

Lead bipartisan push to wind down GSEs in 2015

One of the leading voices in Congress on housing finance reform announced Tuesday that next year will be his last year in the Senate.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, announced Tuesday that he plans to retire at the end of his term in the Senate and will not seek re-election in 2018.

“After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018,” Corker said in a statement.

“When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms,” Corker continued. “Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult. But I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me.”

Corker was in the running to serve as President Donald Trump’s running mate, but he removed his name from consideration, stating that the role of Vice President is too political for him.

During his time in the Senate, Corker pushed for housing finance reform, including reaching across the aisle to pursue an end to the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In 2015, Corker co-authored the Corker-Warner Bill with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia. The bill would have seen Fannie and Freddie wound down and replaced, but the bill failed in the Senate.

But last year, a Yahoo Finance report from Bethany McLean alleged that both Corker Warner profited from the housing crisis.

As HousingWire’s Kelsey Ramírez recapped last year, Corker and Warner have both reported millions of dollars of income from a fund they were invested in that contained Goldman Sachs products that were designed to bet against the real estate market.

But earlier this year, reports emerged that Corker and Warner were working towards new housing finance reform legislation that would have addressed the government-sponsored enterprises.

Corker did note in his statement that he plans to serve out his full term, so theoretically, there’s still time to pursue housing finance reform legislation.

“I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months, and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career,” Corker said in his statement.

In fact, in a statement about Corker’s retirement, Warner said that the pair’s housing finance reform efforts are ongoing.

“When I joined the Senate in 2009, Bob Corker was one of the first people I sought out because of his experience in business and local government. Since then, he has become a dear friend, and we have worked closely together on a number of budget and banking-related issues, particularly housing finance reform,” Warner said in a statement.

No matter the challenge, you can always count on Senator Corker to bring a reasoned, thoughtful approach, and to make decisions based not on partisanship but on what he believes is in the best interests of the American people,” Warner continued.

“I am sorry to hear of his decision not to run for another term in the Senate, but I appreciate his many contributions to the people of Chattanooga, where he served as mayor; to the State of Tennessee, where he served as Commissioner of Finance and Administration; and to our country. I salute his service, value his friendship, and wish him nothing but the best in the future,” Warner added.

“I also hope this is a wake-up call to all of us in the Senate that we need to recommit ourselves to creating an environment where reasonable, thoughtful people of both parties can come together to solve problems,” Warner concluded.

Corker closed his statement by thanking his family and saying that there’s more work to do in the Senate.

“I am grateful to the people of Tennessee for the opportunity to serve my state and country. I have been fortunate to do so with an extraordinary staff, and I want to thank them for their incredible dedication,” Corker said. “I know that we will continue to have an impact for the remainder of our term, and I look forward to finding other ways to make a difference in the future.”

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