BUSINESS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bipartisan Effort Would Force An IG On Fannie And Freddie

A bipartisan foursome in the House of Representatives introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to appoint an inspector general within 30 days.

In November, the Huffington Post reported that the agency had stripped its IG of authority by appealing to the Department of Justice and claiming that Congress did not intend for the IG to be operating.

Members of Congress who wrote the relevant legislation -- including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the chairmen of the committees that passed the bill -- said that the claim was untrue.

The bill introduced Wednesday would remove all doubt and is sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the top-ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), the panel's chairman. It's also cosponsored by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), the top-ranking Republican on the committee.

With bipartisan support, the bill could be passed quickly on what's known in the House as a "suspension calendar," where regular order is disposed with and the bill passes with a two-thirds vote.

The Obama administration has yet to nominate an IG for the FHFA, despite repeated requests from the new agency head that it do so.

The FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which collectively own or guarantee some five trillion dollars in home loans. On December 24, the White House announced that it would back Fannie and Freddie with unlimited taxpayer dollars.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is investigating the Christmas Eve bailout of Fannie and Freddie.

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