Ford School's Michael Barr addresses the likelihood of housing finance reform in the wake of midterm results

November 30, 2018

For the first time since 2010, Congressional Democrats will head House committees and decide the agenda for the chamber. Hannah Long’s article for American Banker entitled “Will Democrats’ midterm success spur progress on GSE reform?” explores the odds for continued Democratic success in the housing and financial sectors.

Such reform, Long writes in her November 18, 2018 article, may occur under new chairwoman for the Housing Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters (D-CA). Michael Barr of the Ford School of Public Policy, believes Waters will “start with a fresh sheet of paper from the reform ideas she’s put forward in the past, and then work to try and bring other members along.” Moreover, Dean Barr likes the chances that any reform will be bipartisan in nature “considering that the reform proposals that have gone the furthest to date have been bipartisan.”

At the same time, however, there GSE (government-sponsored enterprise) reform for housing finance seems to be on the backburner. Currently there is no “financial crisis or ‘action-enforcing decision’ to spur GSE reform,” Dean Barr said.

Nevertheless, even with the lack of a catalyzing agent, reform appears more likely with Democrats at the helm. While the GOP chaired the committee, the language of laissez-faire dominated the direction of the Housing Finance Services Committee. Now, with the victory of Democrats in November, Dean Barr believes that the chances for a more progressive reform are “somewhat higher now than they were before the election.”

Click here to read Hannah Long’s article.

Michael Barr is also the faculty director of the Center on Finance, Law, and Policy as well as a senior fellow at the center at the Center for American Progress. A former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Treasury Department, Barr was a key contributor in crafting the Dodd-Frank Act.