White House defends mortgage giants takeover

September 8, 2008 8:47:29 AM PDT
The White House said Tuesday that the giant federal takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have been prevented if Congress had acted on its recommendations for changing the system.

"It is exactly the kind of event we warned about and tried to prevent over the years," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "Remember that we have highlighted the systemic risk posed by Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac because of the very large role they play in housing markets and because of their business practices."

She said that the White House has asked Congress "for years" to establish a strong independent regulator to oversee the institutions.

Perino also highlighted that the takeover will allow time for Congress and the next administration to determine the appropriate future role for the companies. She said their primary mission should be to increase the availability and affordability of home mortgages.

"Whatever eventual longtime solution is decided for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Perino said, "it is crucial that there are reforms so they do not pose similar risks to our economy or the financial system again."

President Bush believes the move will help the housing market recover.

"Our economy will not return to strong job growth until the housing correction is behind us," his spokeswoman said.


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