Veto threats are common in Washington, although this President Bush has seldom made good on his threats. (Maloni to production room, that's "veto" with an "e," not Vito with an "i," which is material for a future blog.)
But, the White House is playing predictable “veto threat games” with the Democrats’ housing bill, intended to help victims of the subprime debacle.
One WH official, Keith Hennessey, says things can be worked out, while the next day the President vows a veto.
Good cop, bad guy. Cajole and threaten.
That is predictable duplicity and manipulation, but I hope someone in the D leadership remembers getting jacked around “on housing” when the subject turns to the same church different pew GSE reform legislation.
Negotiations on several bills, produced either by the Senate Banking or House Financial Services committees, have something in common. They all are related to fixing the mortgage market operationally or helping homebuyers stuck with bad loans. But most of all, they are about how to politically position Democrats and Republicans on these important consumer issues for the coming 2008 elections.
Chairmen Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) should stay strong and steadfast on their respective housing bills and on the GSE issues, as well. Nowhere are the "Red and Blue party lines" more starkly drawn than on the broad issue of housing and mortgage finance policy.
Regarding a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulatory restructuring bill, which cleared the House but is birthing in the Senate, the Administration and its Hill allies want the same legislators--whom they today threaten--to help them minimize the companies market impact, limit the GSEs portfolio investment activity, and take away their managers’ discretion, in the of process overloading them with excess capital demands.
Neither President Bush nor his Senate shock troops will own up to the fact that the public doesn't want a large commercial bank dominated mortgage market, which naturally would follow this deconstruction of Fannie and Freddie. Nor, I suspect, would a majority of Congress if they understood what happens after all of those anti-GSE pieces are put together.
By sticking to their guns, the D’s can achieve the seldom achievable, i.e. making good policy and doing well politically.
Let the White House and Dick Shelby explain to the American people--now underwriting an Iraq war costing $4 billon a week--why that $2 billion annually to help families burdened with crippling subprime mortgages is unacceptable to President Bush and his Hill Republicans.
(Blogger's note: Congratulations to Andi Hedberg Maloni and Jason Maloni on the birth of their first child, Daryn Kelly Maloni, who checked into Sibley Hospital @9 PM on Tuesday, May 6, weighing 7 pounds and 12 ounces, and having a 21 inch length. Daryn’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, can’t wait to spoil, I mean to spend time with her!)