WASHINGTON — The House Financial Services capital markets subcommittee was expected to pass as early as late Tuesday eight bills intended to jump-start reform of the government-sponsored enterprises despite efforts by Democrats to oppose the measures.

Democrats argued the bills were making the mortgage market anxious and said Congress should take time to draft a comprehensive solution for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It's a risky strategy," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., "I believe this scattered approach [by Republicans] will send mixed signals to the market."

The eight bills were introduced last month to speed up the elimination of Fannie and Freddie.

The bills include a measure by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus to suspend the current compensation system for Fannie and Freddie employees; a bill by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., to permanently abolish the GSEs' affordable housing goals; one by Rep. Judy Biggert to establish an inspector general within the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and a measure by oversight subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer to phase in an increase in Fannie and Freddie's guarantee fees over two years.

Republicans also introduced a bill by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to set annual limits on the size of each GSE's retained portfolio and increase the limits over five years.

The vote began in the early morning but Democrats raised objections to the various legislation. Rep. Barney Frank, the lead Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, said the committee should delay the vote to work out several issues.

"I am puzzled by what the plans are and I think the case for postponement is a strong one," said Frank, who pointed to concerns raised by the industry as well as the shortage of time to address a number of issues raised at a hearing on the bills held last week.

For their part, trade groups like the National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Realtors, Financial Services Roundtable and others have called on Congress to move slowly and deliberately and advocated against a piecemeal approach.

In a joint letter Friday, the Home Builders and Realtors requested a postponement of the scheduled vote saying that a fragmented approach to GSE reform would further damage an already fragile housing market and hurt an economic recovery.

In an interview with American Banker, Frank said part of the problem is the disarray in the number of bills that have been offered by Republicans with none addressing the ultimate question of what will replace Fannie and Freddie. "The key issue is what replaces it. Getting rid of Fannie and Freddie is easy. The problem is, what do you replace them with? I don't see any progress on that," Frank said.

He also questioned why Republicans were attempting to rush legislation through, saying it was an attempt to show the party was advancing on GSE reform.

"It's just a very odd way to proceed," Frank said.

Republicans dismissed such criticisms, saying they were doing exactly what the Obama administration proposed in its white paper released in February.

"The administration has offered a sort of a laundry list of suggestions, and that's what these bills are," Bachus said.

"In fact we have taken the administration's suggestions and many of them are these steps they have said to take and by dividing them into individual bills we can debate each one of them."

House GSE Reform Bills Expected to Pass Despite Democrats' Opposition

n BY DONNA BORAK

WASHINGTON — The House Financial Services capital markets subcommittee was expected to pass as early as late Tuesday eight bills intended to jump-start reform of the government-sponsored enterprises despite efforts by Democrats to oppose the measures.

Democrats argued the bills were making the mortgage market anxious and said Congress should take time to draft a comprehensive solution for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It's a risky strategy," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., "I believe this scattered approach [by Republicans] will send mixed signals to the market."

The eight bills were introduced last month to speed up the elimination of Fannie and Freddie.

The bills include a measure by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus to suspend the current compensation system for Fannie and Freddie employees; a bill by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., to permanently abolish the GSEs' affordable housing goals; one by Rep. Judy Biggert to establish an inspector general within the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and a measure by oversight subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer to phase in an increase in Fannie and Freddie's guarantee fees over two years.

Republicans also introduced a bill by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to set annual limits on the size of each GSE's retained portfolio and increase the limits over five years.

The vote began in the early morning but Democrats raised objections to the various legislation. Rep. Barney Frank, the lead Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, said the committee should delay the vote to work out several issues.

"I am puzzled by what the plans are and I think the case for postponement is a strong one," said Frank, who pointed to concerns raised by the industry as well as the shortage of time to address a number of issues raised at a hearing on the bills held last week.

For their part, trade groups like the National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Realtors, Financial Services Roundtable and others have called on Congress to move slowly and deliberately and advocated against a piecemeal approach.

In a joint letter Friday, the Home Builders and Realtors requested a postponement of the scheduled vote saying that a fragmented approach to GSE reform would further damage an already fragile housing market and hurt an economic recovery.

In an interview with American Banker, Frank said part of the problem is the disarray in the number of bills that have been offered by Republicans with none addressing the ultimate question of what will replace Fannie and Freddie. "The key issue is what replaces it. Getting rid of Fannie and Freddie is easy. The problem is, what do you replace them with? I don't see any progress on that," Frank said.

He also questioned why Republicans were attempting to rush legislation through, saying it was an attempt to show the party was advancing on GSE reform.

"It's just a very odd way to proceed," Frank said.

Republicans dismissed such criticisms, saying they were doing exactly what the Obama administration proposed in its white paper released in February.

"The administration has offered a sort of a laundry list of suggestions, and that's what these bills are," Bachus said.

"In fact we have taken the administration's suggestions and many of them are these steps they have said to take and by dividing them into individual bills we can debate each one of them."