When Congress tackled financial regulatory reform, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that he was going to play a productive role, negotiating with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) after the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), made it clear that he wasn’t interested in cutting a deal.
However, Corker ended up playing the role that the Gang of Six played during the health care reform debate: insisting that his ideas get placed into the bill, and then voting against it anyway, while decrying the breakdown of bipartisanship.
According to the Nashville Business Journal, Corker is looking ahead to his next performance — playing a “leading role” in the inevitable reform of mortgage lending and the government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, led a forum on the U.S. housing market Tuesday, making clear his intentions to again try shaping legislation in reaction to the financial crisis…“I think this is a much heavier lift for Congress than what we saw during Dodd-Frank,” he said of the bill overhauling the financial system, which he ultimately opposed.
Corker’s intentions are distressing enough after seeing the role that he played during the financial reform debate. But considering Corker’s position on mortgage finance reform, they’re even worse.
When Dodd-Frank was being hashed out on the Senate floor, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) offered a truly irresponsible amendment that would have simply set a date certain for dissolving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite the fact that the mortgage giants back more than 90 percent of mortgages in the country. “The McCain amendment would cause significant uncertainty among the investors in GSE-issued mortgage-backed securities, threatening the primary source of mortgage credit we have at this time, without offering any alternative sources of liquidity,” we here at CAP noted at the time. “Such a large drop in mortgage liquidity could strongly threaten the prospects of economic recovery.”
McCain’s plan would have not only threatened America’s economy, but macroeconomic stability, as “investor appetite for the MBS issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helps to finance the significant borrowing of overseas’ capital by the U.S. government.” The amendment was an ideologically driven catastrophe waiting to happen.
Corker was a co-sponsor of that amendment and voted for it, saying later that it was a “really thoughful amendment.” And now he’s looking for a way to be even more involved in the process the next time around.