February 28, 2011 / 10:10 PM / in 6 years

House seen backing housing bill

2 Min Read

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives will likely approve major legislation revamping the way Americans finance their homes by year's end, a key Republican lawmaker said on Monday.

Rep. Scott Garrett, who chairs the House panel overseeing mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae FNMA.OB and Freddie Mac FMCC.OB, told the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit he expected his newly empowered Republican colleagues to approve a measure overhauling the structure of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) by the end of 2011.

"I would say that you would see GSE reform during the course of this year and what happens in the Senate is always a question mark," Garrett said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the fourth-highest Republican in the House, told the Summit he plans to reintroduce legislation in weeks or months that would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday to discuss the Obama administration's views on the matter.

The Obama administration earlier this month announced several short-term steps to make government-backed mortgages, including loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, more expensive going forward in a bid to lure private capital back to the mortgage market.

The administration also announced plans to phase-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over time and presented Congress with three options for replacing them long-term.

Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Matthew Lewis

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