WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus said Tuesday it was time for the Republicans to sit down with the Obama administration to see if they could reach an agreement on the future of the housing finance system.

While many GOP lawmakers have sounded strident in their comments on the government-sponsored enterprises, Bachus struck a bipartisan tone.

"We have to sit down and have a discussion and see how much room for agreement there is and then see how close we are," Bachus told reporters, after giving a luncheon speech before the Women in Housing and Finance. "Until we know where we are and how close we are, that's a good starting point."

The Alabama Republican even complimented the administration for adopting some of the positions Republicans have been advocating for.

Bachus said he met Monday with the chairs of all of House Financial Services subcommittees to discuss the GSE options laid out by the White House last week in its white paper.

"We unanimously agreed that it's time to sit down with the administration," said Bachus.

Bachus did not endorse putting any hard deadlines on drafting a GSE plan, but said policymakers should move cautiously.

"The goal is to get an agreement," he said. "The goal is just to make a transition. I'm not sure you can make a judgment right now cause you don't know where the economy is going."

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