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Washington
Fed policy GSE reform arise on subcommittee agendas
WASHINGTON (2/3/11)—The Federal Reserve’s impact on unemployment and job creation will be examined during a Feb. 9 hearing before the House domestic monetary policy and technology subcommittee, announced that panel's new chairman, Ron Paul (R-Texas). Paul in a Wednesday statement noted that “the nation’s unemployment picture remains bleak” in spite of “enormous amounts of monetary and credit expansion by the Federal Reserve in recent years.” The subcommittee hearing follows the Fed’s November purchase of $600 billion in long-term Treasury bonds. The purchase, which is known as "quantitative easing," is meant to stimulate the economy. Potential reform of government-sponsored mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also be discussed during a separate Feb. 9 hearing before the House capital markets subcommittee. That hearing, announced by House subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) Wednesday, will focus on actions needed to transition government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of the federal conservatorship that they have been under since 2008. The subcommittee will also consider ways that the bailout of the GSEs, which has currently cost $150 billion in taxpayer funds, can be ended. GSE critics—including some Republican House members--have taken issue with the taxpayer costs associated with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Garret in a statement said that his committee would “continue to seek alternative solutions to housing finance in the United States that decrease the government’s exposure and get private capital off the sidelines.” Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney in a 2010 letter to the Treasury said that the needs of credit unions and other small mortgage lenders should continue to be considered as the government develops its plans for the future of the secondary home mortgage market. CUNA has also formed its own GSE Reform Task Force to examine and opine on GSE-related issues. Witnesses for the two hearings have not yet been announced.


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