With the recent opening of the 114th Congress, the Republican-led House and Senate will be forced to address ways to improve the mortgage finance market, including, but not limited to, addressing the conservatorship of the GSEs, refining the government-sponsored refinancing program, streamlining mortgage regulation, cracking down on consumer fraud and abuse, promoting rental housing and establishing a revamped common securitization platform.
Congress will not have to start from scratch. There have been dozens of proposals circulating in Washington DC for years from all sides of the debate, including numerous housing and mortgage-related proposals debated during the 113th Congress.
As the 2016 presidential election approaches, constituents will press candidates, many of whom will be sitting Members of Congress, for more action, while partisan disputes will make compromise and bipartisanship more difficult to achieve. Despite the political climate, Washington DC is uniquely positioned to impact the future of the housing and mortgage market, addressing mortgage origination and servicing, GSE regulation, securitization, mortgage insurance and other important aspects of the debate. The debate, however, does not take place in a vacuum. There are many moving pieces, each of which is driven by its own missions, goals and ambitions.
This article identifies four of the most important Washington DC stakeholders in the housing reform debate, highlighting their roles, their interests and predicting any likely short-term outcomes.