Early Briefing: Tougher Regulation For Fannie, Freddie?

*Tougher regulation seems to be in the cards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after a closed-door meeting last week between senior Treasury officials, the top two members of the Senate Banking Committee and the heads of both mortgage finance companies. It was part of a renewed effort by Treasury to break the stalemate over the companies' regulation.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), the Banking Committee's ranking Republican, indicated a willingness to compromise with Democrats and seek less stringent controls over Fannie and Freddie. As a result, lawmakers are increasingly upbeat about the prospects for tougher regulation of some sort.

*D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said the city expects taxis to have meters by May 1, but they won't get fined for not having them till June 1. The drivers still plan to appeal the ruling that Fenty has the power to change the rate structure.

*The Internal Revenue Service withdrew proposed regulations asserting that the mortgages held by companies including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were capital assets and that losses from them could be used to only offset capital gains.

*Fenty is pressing for widespread changes that would give the city more power to punish landlords of neglected buildings, including the authority to quickly impose civil and criminal penalties when owners refuse to make repairs.

Fenty also wants to allow the city to conduct quicker housing inspections, make immediate repairs at poorly maintained properties and provide more aid to tenants displaced from unsafe buildings. The proposed changes to District law, submitted to the D.C. Council this week by interim Attorney General Peter J. Nickles, are the latest in a series of recent efforts by council members and the Fenty administration to crack down on abusive landlords.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 23, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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