Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still needed

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(NNPA)—My time in Washington has given me a real primer on the phrase “flavor of the week.” This week, all of the buzz in the nation’s capital is housing. Specifically, the Senate Banking Committee is set to consider Johnson-Crapo, a significant piece of legislation that would completely reconstruct the housing finance system as we know it, eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In their place, the bill would create a new government-backed mortgage-bond insurer and regulatory agency called the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation to oversee the secondary mortgage market.

But since there is no African-American member of the Senate Banking Committee, it is worth reviewing why this issue is so important to millions of current and prospective African American homeowners—and why the current proposal is a dangerous one.

In the past five years, the privately-owned, publicly-traded Fannie and Freddie have been central to bringing stability to the federal housing market, with a full return to profitability earlier this year. But with Johnson-Crapo, Congress is threatening to jeopardize that stability and undo years of resilience from American taxpayers. That’s the wrong direction.

Instead, Congress should be looking to bolster that stability by expanding access to and ensuring affordability of homeownership for all Americans—and especially for underserved communities.

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