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Inside Washington (04/26/2011)
* WASHINGTON (4/27/11)--Shutting down Freddie Mac and Frannie Mae--a cornerstone of the Republican strategy to shrink government—is proving to be an uphill battle in both the House and Senate ( April 26). In the Repubican-led House, a sweeping overhaul bill by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has yet to gain consensus, according to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). In the Senate, a measure from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) must get through a Democratic majority. Republicans want to turn the mortgage market over to banks and other private lenders. Maintaining Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae since the housing bust has cost tax payers $150 billion, said Representatives from both the Republican and Democratic parties agree Freddie and Fannie should be minimized to lure private lenders back into the market, GOP members generally want to move faster and further … * WASHINGTON (4/27/11)--The Federal Reserve’s power to pay interest on bank reserves, an authority granted by Congress in 2008, may come into play today (American Banker April 26). The Federal Open Market Committee began a two-day meeting Tuesday and among the items on the agenda is whether to proceed with a $600 billion in bond purchases. How closely the fed funds rate follows the movements of those bonds could determine the success of using interest on reserves as a policy tool. Still to be determined is the margin between interest reserves and the effective funds rates, according to Dino Kos, a managing director at Hamiltonian Associates Ltd. Kos said that if the fed rate trades at a stable, narrow discount to the interest on reserves, then tightening policy through the interest on reserves is feasible. A wide spread would undermine the strategy, he said. Watch News Now this afternoon for updates … * WASHINGTON (4/27/11)--Including expected opposition from Republicans and bankers, President Barack Obama has another opponent for his yet-to-be-named nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): time (American Banker April 26). As of Tuesday, only 10 legislative weeks remained for the Senate to confirm the selection before the bureau officially assumes its rulemaking and enforcement authorities. The short time frame leaves the president with two options: Nominate a candidate who would be approved with little debate, a challenge given the controversy surround CFPB's very existence, or make a recess appointment, a move that is sure to spark controversy among GOP opponents. After the president sends his nomination to the Senate, the Banking Committee would take several weeks to research the candidate prior to confirmation hearings, which could take up to a week. The committee may take another week or two to vote on the nomination. Then the Senate must take time for a floor debate. If Republicans seek to block or filibuster the nomination, the final vote could be held up for another week …


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