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Fair and Open Conference? Chairman Frank Blocks Republicans From Offering Amendments to Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac


WASHINGTON, Jun 23 -

- Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Spencer Bachus today said Chairman Barney Frank's outright ban on consideration of amendments to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is an abandonment of congressional responsibility and the direct result of Democrats controlling the conference negotiations to protect their taxpayer-funded bailouts.

"Without the ability to even debate how to end the unlimited bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, meaningful GSE reform, which should have been our top priority in this conference, will never come," Bachus said.  "Instead, we have focused on other matters, many that are unrelated to the financial crisis, and allowed the GSEs to bleed more than $146 billion of taxpayer dollars without any plan to staunch the losses. 

"Just like their lack of a budget, this is a complete abdication of their congressional responsibility.  Thanks to the cameras, now the public knows what the Democrats look like when they protect government bailouts over the interests of taxpayers." 

In an exchange with Rep. Jeb Hensarling on the first day of conference, Chairman Frank made it abundantly clear that the rule on scope would be interpreted in a broad manner and that any policy offer, as long as the general subject matter is addressed in the bill, will be reviewed.  Mr. Frank: "[I]f the general subject matter is in the bill, I believe we should entertain amendments based on, that is the general approach, and there were not strict rules, but that is the essential policy that is if the subject matter is addressed deposit insurance being mainly a major piece of this then I will entertain a new amendment."

Based on the broad rule on "scope" outlined by Chairman Frank on June 15, 2010, amendments related to Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) should be considered in this Conference.  Other examples in which the Chairman used a "broad" scope test to allow amendments include:

  1. Waters amendment to reverse  the Supreme Court's Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta decision where the amendment would have allowed plaintiffs in securities fraud cases to allege scheme liability against "secondary actors";

  1. Two new provisions in the proposed House offer for a permanent extension of the Transaction Asset Guarantee program (TAG) and a permanent increase in deposit insurance to $250,000, made retroactive to January 1, 2008 to benefit depositors at six failed institutions, including Indy Mac of California; and,

  1. An Issa amendment to impose lobbying restrictions on those companies where the Federal government has a significant ownership interest. 

Republicans have consistently offered solutions to end the $145 billion and growing taxpayer bailout and to protect taxpayers, but the Democrats have opposed them all.  During the conference debate, House Republicans attempted to offer the following proposals in hopes that Democrats would finally relent and include real reform to address one of the root causes of the financial crisis.

Orderly Transition to Privatization - Representative Jeb Hensarling

Place the GSEs "On Budget" - Representative Scott Garrett

Cap the Bailout - Representatives Spencer Bachus and Ed Royce