Federal Housing Director Mel Watt stokes housing fear

Joseph Lawler
The Washington Examiner

The government’s top housing finance regulator set up a fight with House Republicans for early next year as he raised the political stakes surrounding mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt pleased affordable-housing advocates last week by directing the bailed-out mortgage businesses to begin contributing to special housing.

But the move also capped off a first year in office for the Obama-appointed Watt that has left many conservatives afraid and angry at the possibility that he is leading Fannie and Freddie back down the path toward failure, just six years after the companies crashed and required a nearly $200 billion bailout.

“He’s done a 180-degree turn, he’s got Fannie and Freddie back on the same track they got on in 1993,” said Ed Pinto, a housing analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. The decisions made then took a long time to “metastasize into the disaster that occurred in ’07 and ’08, but we’re starting out on that same path again,” Pinto said…



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