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Posted at 4:49 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2013
In the moments before President Barack Obama appeared on live TV to announce his administration’s new agenda for housing finance changes, Rep. Scott Garrett’s press office fired off a rebuttal.
In his statement — which appeared in our inbox minutes before Obama began speaking — the New Jersey Republican and chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises downplayed the substance and significance of Obama’s remarks.
“While I welcome today’s speech, it once again demonstrates President Obama’s inexcusable delay in addressing our nation’s biggest problems,” Garrett said. “For the past five years, the president has ignored the true causes of the financial crisis — the government’s misguided efforts at allocating credit through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The president’s failure to address the largest bailout in our history has only emboldened Washington bureaucrats to continue the federal government’s domination of the housing finance market. Americans deserve better.”
The president called for ending the current paradigm of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and returning the mortgage market to private banks, and he praised bipartisan efforts in the Senate but left the House out of his remarks. The president also called on Congress to make it easier for homeowners to refinance — something he has been asking Congress for repeatedly without success.
Garrett made a few suggestions for how Obama can turn things around for the housing market, mostly centered on stopping initiatives of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, much-loathed by the GOP.
He also recommends that Obama “get off the campaign trail”:
It is time for the president to get off the campaign trail and get to work. Rather than making another speech several thousand miles from Washington, I invite the president to come to Capitol Hill, roll up his sleeves, and join House Republicans in working to create a sustainable housing finance system that never again puts American taxpayers on the hook for a big Wall Street bailout.
Expect more press releases from Republican lawmakers to come in the wake of Obama’s housing address, which comes on the second, sleepy day of the five-week break from legislative business on Capitol Hill.