What: All Issues : Housing : Preventing Bank Foreclosures on Homes : Federal housing finance overhaul (H.R. 1427)/Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) amendment to strike a provision creating an affordable housing fund (2007 house Roll Call 378)
 Who: All Members : New York : Gillibrand, Kirsten
Federal housing finance overhaul (H.R. 1427)/Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) amendment to strike a provision creating an affordable housing fund
house Roll Call 378     May 17, 2007
Member's Vote
or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This vote was on an amendment to a bill to create a new independent agency to oversee the workings of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank System, the federally chartered organizations that support the home mortgage market. In addition to creating the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the legislation would also create a new stream of funding for affordable housing programs. This amendment, proposed by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), sought to strike the bill's provision creating an affordable housing fund.

In introducing his amendment, Bachus said the country does not need another affordable housing program.

"If we determine that the 90 some-odd housing programs are not being effective in addressing the needs of low-income and middle-income Americans, then we need to first reform those programs," Bachus said. "But, in passing legislation to strengthen the financial stability of our GSEs, we do not need at the same time to impose a $3 billion cost on them. Those are opposing actions."

GSEs refer to government-sponsored enterprises, of which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are examples. The $3 billion figure referred to the cost of the housing program in the legislation.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (known as Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Corporation (Freddie Mac) were chartered by Congress in 1934 and 1970, respectively, in order to create a secondary market for mortgages and increase liquidity. Both have been plagued by considerable accounting, financial reporting and managerial problems in recent years, and this legislation aimed to reform the agencies by creating an oversight authority.

Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass) responded to Bachus' assertions by saying that the country currently does "not have enough programs currently being funded that build affordable housing for families."

"We are not building public housing," Frank added. "We have the voucher program. The voucher program, on an annual basis, adds to the demand for housing in a way that does not increase supply. There is not now a generally funded affordable housing construction program for families, for working people."

The majority of lawmakers sided with Frank. Democrats were unanimous in their opposition, and they were joined by 43 Republicans in voting against the amendment. Thus, by a vote of 148 to 269, the House rejected a proposal to cut the affordable housing programs in the bill, and legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac proceeded with the new affordable housing programs intact.

Issue Areas:
Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss