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Paulson to Address GOP Concerns on Housing Bill

With GOP concerns over the proposed Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac bailout bill continuing to percolate, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will meet privately this afternoon with House Republicans to try to allay their fears.

Paulson will meet with the House Republican Conference behind closed doors in the Capitol at 4 p.m., as an increasing number of GOP lawmakers are voicing doubts about the overall wisdom of the bailout of government sponsored enterprises and the process by which Democratic leaders are crafting the broader housing package that will be used as a vehicle for it.

"I don't think anybody on our side of the aisle thinks that we ought not do something to ensure some stability in the housing markets and the credit markets," said Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the GOP's chief deputy whip.

"The problem is, the way that the majority seems to be bringing this about is nothing but using a crisis ... and exploiting that to bring some of their favorite pet projects to the floor for passage. They control this place. They can bring a clean GSE bill to the floor that I think could get broad bipartisan support. But a bill that does come to the floor should have in it some protection for the taxpayers. It should have, at this point in time, some meaningful reform" of the GSEs.

Cantor said the GOP was looking for a stronger regulator of the GSEs to prevent future crises from developing. And House GOP Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) said Paulson needed to address the uncertainty many Republicans feel in going forward.

"The long-term impacts of taking what had been a suspected, implicit government guarantee [of Fannie and Freddie] into an explicit guarantee by virtue of congressional action is one that all of us are trying to understand better, and that's why we're bringing in Secretary Paulson," Putnam said, adding that he and others wanted to hear Paulson explain exactly why he and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took the actions they did over the weekend.

"We are, in effect, legislating in the midst of a crisis," Putnam said, "and it's important that we get it right, given the fragile psychological state of the markets."

By Ben Pershing  |  July 16, 2008; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , GOP Leaders  
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Next: Cheney Playing Diminished Role on the Hill

Comments

Thank you, Ben, for faithfully stenographing the GOP talking points on this issue. Now, how about you do some real reporting and let us know whether Eric Cantor's whining matches the reality of how Democrats are acting on this issue?

Posted by: ghost | July 16, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The Irony Drips from the Fragile Market Place. After all the GOP Ca$hing in as they Gamed the Financial System, the Party of Money Changers Cries Foul!

I'd be laughing harder if I had two nickels to scrape together.

Signed: BROKE in NC

Posted by: CaseyJonesed | July 16, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

We got into this mess because ol' Alan Greenspan said it would be easier to clean up the mess after a speculative bubble bursts than to prick the bubble on the way up. Nice going Alan baby! You friggin' pinhead!

Now Paulson wants to help out his ol' friends he left on Wall Street when he became Secretary.

I must be ill, I agree with the Congressional GOP'ers that are saying an open-ended commitment is lunacy.

I wonder if the economic meltdown happening will be the real legacy of GWB administration, not Iraq?

Posted by: Roofelstoon | July 16, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering when congress was going to pull the plug on another taxpayer bailout.

I'm sick of bailing out millionaires.

What a country, though. Imagine starting a company that gets so big that should you fail, have no fear, taxpayers will clean up your mess.

That safety net has to be removed so that these outfits act responsibly or deal with the mess, If anyone remembers what responsibly means anymore.

I can easily imagine a CEO facing a congressional hearing, asking a congressperson "what exactly do you mean by RESPONSIBLY"?

Posted by: Gary P | July 16, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Pat Paulson? Pat Paulson for President.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 16, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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