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Chairman Hensarling Statement on Mel Watt's Confirmation


Washington, Dec 10 -

Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) made the following statement after Rep. Mel Watt was confirmed today by the United States Senate as the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. 

“I congratulate my colleague Mel Watt on his confirmation.  As a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, he has been thoughtful and well-respected during his tenure.  My soon-to- be former colleague has big shoes to fill in replacing Acting Director DeMarco and I hope and challenge him to carry on Mr. DeMarco’s policies. 

“I want to praise Ed DeMarco for the commendable job he has done as FHFA’s acting director. Mr. DeMarco put the interest of hardworking taxpayers first, standing strong against intense political pressure in Washington to do the opposite.  He furthered reform by establishing the Conservatorship Strategic Plan Scorecard, with the three defined goals of building a new securitization infrastructure, contracting the GSEs' dominant presence in the marketplace, and maintaining foreclosure prevention activities. 

“It is also my hope that with a new FHFA Director, the Obama administration will work with us on the need to create a sustainable housing finance system for our nation. 

“Since February 2011, the administration’s “White Paper” on housing finance reform has essentially been collecting dust on some shelf in the basement.  It was 30 months later before President Obama bothered to turn his attention to the issue again with a speech – but just a speech, not a plan. Congress can’t negotiate or pass a speech.

“It’s been five years since the financial crisis, which was caused in large part by federal policies that incented, mandated, and browbeat financial institutions to loan money to people to buy homes they ultimately could not afford.  It’s been three years since the administration’s response to the crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act, failed to do anything about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their record taxpayer-funded bailout

“That is why earlier this year our committee passed the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act (PATH Act). The PATH Act creates a housing finance system that’s designed for homeowners so every American who works hard and plays by the rules can have opportunities and choices to buy homes they can afford to keep. It creates a housing finance system that’s designed for hardworking taxpayers so they never again have to bail out corrupt financial government enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With the reforms in the PATH Act, Americans will finally have a housing finance system that is worthy of them.

“As Congress continues to debate housing finance reform, leadership from the administration will be crucial, especially with divided government. No reform is going to pass without at least some leadership in the White House. Now is the time for action to create a sustainable housing finance system – sustainable for taxpayers, for homeowners and for our economy.”