The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday passed the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act by a vote of 30-27.
The bill, which now faces a vote on the floor of the House, would eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and largely privatize the secondary mortgage market.
For the most part, voting ran along party lines, with Republicans voting for the bill and Democrats voting against it. Two exceptions were Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), who is vice chairman of the committee, and Rep. Mike Fitzgerald (R-Pa.), who both voted against the bill. Their media representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), John Delaney (D-Md.) and Mel Watt (D-N.C.) did not vote.
Watt’s abstained vote wasn’t unexpected, as he awaits Senate confirmation to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie and would be eliminated by the bill.
“The passage of this legislation today is a critical step in reforming our nation’s housing finance system and ensuring the American taxpayers no longer have to fund $200 billion bailouts,” said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), lead sponsor of the bill and chairman of the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises subcommittee.
The bill now faces a full House vote. Although the legislation passed the Republican-majority committee, it faces longer odds on the House floor because a provision that would reduce the conforming loan limit could be opposed by congressmen who represent districts where home values are higher than the national average.