WASHINGTON - You could say that Mary Ellen Taylor, congressional lobbyist at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, has had her hands full recently.
The new Republican majority in Congress has proposed several bills that the office believes would impede its regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In a recent interview, Ms. Taylor said that her agency, working with banking regulators and the House and Senate Banking Committees, had beaten back the offending provisions.
Most troubling, Ms. Taylor said, was the Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Bill, which originally would have required the banking agencies and the housing oversight office to submit all regulatory actions to the Office of Management and Budget, much like any other government agency.
Under the current House version of the bill, safety and soundness rules would not have to be submitted. Ms. Taylor said she expects the Senate to follow suit.
Another item that the housing oversight office believes would tie its hands is contained in the unfunded mandates bill, which has been passed by both houses.
The bill is intended to prevent the government from mandating actions by states without providing funds to pay for them and also limits mandates on private companies when the resulting annual cost is over $100 million.
Under the House version of the bill, such actions would require an economic impact analysis and would be subject to judicial review.
The housing oversight office could be affected, should it require the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. to hold more than $100 million more in risk-based capital.
Ms. Taylor said that she believes the House-Senate conference report will limit the right of judicial review, so that courts would be able to require only the economic analysis, and not be able to overrule the judgment of the housing oversight office or the banking agencies.
Finally, Ms. Taylor said she has been working hard to make sure that her agency is not affected by a regulatory moratorium that would freeze most federal rules until yearend.
The housing oversight office is currently drafting risk-based capital standards for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, she said.