The HTF is funded through a small fee on the GSEs’ earnings. The GSEs’ capital buffers will be reduced to zero in 2018 because all of their profits are currently being swept to the Treasury. Mr. Watt has explored retaining dividends to bolster the GSEs’ financial security.
The Committee passed the bill on a 33-27 vote, with Representatives Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and all other Democratic members voting against the measure.
Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) offered an amendment to eliminate the provision jeopardizing payments to the HTF, which failed along party lines. The bill will now move to the House Floor for a vote.
The Housing Trust Fund is the first federal housing resource in a generation designed to help build and preserve rental homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes. It is specifically designed to address the housing needs of people most severely impacted by the U.S. rental housing crisis.
These individuals include America’s lowest income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and people experiencing homelessness. If H.R.4560 is enacted, funding for the HTF will likely be suspended until Congress enacts legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in government conservatorship for nearly a decade.