New week. What are you hearing? Will mayor Bill Finch unleash a new round of layoffs to close the budget gap? Some boards and commissions, for lack of appointments, are having trouble organizing quorums. I’m hearing the city’s engineering department is a staffing mess. How’s police overtime coming along? Can Steelpointe be saved?
The Bush administration is taking control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Democratic Congressional candidate Jim Himes says it’s Chris Shays’ fault.
“Chris Shays didn’t speak out in Washington while serving on the Financial Services committee,” said Himes. “Chris Shays failed to do his job. In Congress, I’ll insist that Congress do it’s job and closely watch the financial services industry so that we can prevent these failures that result in taxpayers spending billions on last minute bailouts.”
This is the challenge of new Himes campaign top dog Dana Houle, former congressional staffer and Daily Kos contributor, who will try to poise his candidate with two months left: how to reposition him?
Himes is a good guy, bright, intelligent. But he doesn’t tell you clearly what he will do. Every day I get press releases of Himes kicking Shays. Okay, what’s Jim gonna do? You cannot take out a 21-year incumbent like Shays by jabbing him for every national problem. Himes’ rationale for running has to be something better than it’s all Shays fault. The good news is they have time.
See Shays’ response to the mortgage crisis below:
Shays Reiterates Call for Increased Transparency and Oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Washington , D.C. – In the wake of the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4), a long-time advocate for stronger regulation of these government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), expressed concern that improved oversight and transparency of these GSEs could have helped avoid the need for the takeover.
“It seems to me, a stronger regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might have seen today’s challenges coming,” Shays stated. “At the very least they would have made certain these enterprises that buy, hold, guarantee, package and sell mortgages avoided the kinds of exotic mortgage products or questionable loans that have contributed to the current crisis in the mortgage markets.”
“The current challenges facing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac underscore the need for stronger oversight of the GSEs,” said Shays continued. “I am grateful the House finally passed legislation to increase the oversight and transparency of these two companies.”
Shays authored the bipartisan Leave No Securities Behind Act, which would bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in line with all other publicly-traded companies. His bill would have increased transparency of the companies, thereby reducing systemic risk and enhancing investor protection — without compromising the housing mission of these two GSEs.
Significant portions of Shays’ proposal are included in H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which strengthens regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank system. Shays also supported Chairman Frank’s amendment, which would create a new regulator with enhanced oversight authority over the GSEs.
Fannie and Freddie, which buy more than 50 percent of all home loans originated in the U.S. , currently, have a combined $5.2 trillion of housing market exposure. The proposed new regulatory agency, which would be advised by the secretaries of HUD and Treasury, would also oversee the Federal Home Loan Bank system.
Don’t forget, mark your calendars for the next OIB party, Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m., Captain’s Cove Seaport. Come one, come all, watch a stampede of elephants and donkeys move through the crowd. Yes, all candidates are invited for a schmooze session. No canned responses required. First cocktail, mocktail on OIB, plus munchies. Might be the only party on the planet whose participants will turn out to vote 100 percent. We’re auctioning leftovers of Sarah Palin’s lipstick. Apply it and you too can become a pit bull.