U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay

As this country continues to experience a crisis in affordable housing and homelessness the Trump Administration’s release of its proposal to reform housing finance falls short of many of the important principles outlined by the Democratic Caucus for fair, balanced, and comprehensive housing finance reform. 

I will reiterate that the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not cause the financial crisis, as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and others have also made that clear.

The financial crisis was driven by predatory lending, the private market packaging those toxic, risky loans into securities, and then selling those securities to confused investors. 

Consistent with principles promulgated by the Democratic Caucus, I will continue to advocate for core principles that I believe should be part of efforts to address the future of housing finance reform, which include:

  • maintaining access to the 30-year fixed rate mortgage 
  • ensuring sufficient private capital is in place to protect taxpayers
  • providing stability and liquidity so that we can withstand any future financial crisis
  • ensuring a smooth transition to a new finance system
  • requiring transparency and standardization in a way that ensures a level playing field for all financial institutions, especially credit unions and community banks
  • maintaining access for all qualified borrowers that can sustain homeownership and serving homeowners of the future
  • and ensuring access to affordable rental housing.

Again, I believe the Trump Administration can do better and should come up with a more realistic housing finance proposal that will lower costs in the housing markets, embrace principles of fairness, and help increase homeownership.   

To say this plan is misguided is an understatement, though I look forward to engaging with, and educating officials when they come before the committee that we may work to achieve common ground.

U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) is chairman of the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development & Insurance.

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