The bill covers the $33 billion cost of the two-month extension package with a long-term increase in fees on new mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a quietly added provision that could cause consternation on both sides of the aisle. The increased fees are not directly imposed on homeowners, but banks will likely pass them on to people who sign mortgages, a Democratic policy aide told reporters. “We’re making it a little more expensive to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” the staffer said.
Many Republicans warned that the offset could make it even harder to reform or wind-down the failed housing agencies now under government conservatorship.
“This bill turns Fannie Mae, so troubled and under a cloud from the SEC, to a tax collection agency for the U.S. government,” said Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who voted against the package. The offset looks sure to also infuriate many House Republicans, who have objected to using long-term cuts to pay for short-term programs.
Many Democrats also grumbled about the deal.
“It makes no sense for two months to come back and fight the same fight we’ve been fighting for how long now,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of only four Democrats who voted against the bill.
“I am furious and disgusted that anyone could imagine this stopgap measure is the best that Congress could offer hard-working Americans, seniors and the unemployed,” Manchin said in a statement.