Idea of running FHFA is 'intriguing,' Hensarling says

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WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, sounded open to heading the Federal Housing Finance Agency after he leaves Congress, and acknowledged that his capital-formation bill still faces a potentially tough vote in the Senate.

Hensarling, who is not running for re-election, has been mentioned among others as a possible successor to FHFA Director Mel Watt, whose term expires in January. The next head of the agency could have a major role in any policy to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"That one would be intriguing to me," Hensarling said of the job in an interview Wednesday at a CNBC Capital Exchange event in Washington. “Fannie and Freddie reform has proven to be somewhat vexing.”

In May, Hensarling sounded uninterested in the job, saying he had “no intention of sticking around” in politics or the government. “Certainly, it would be tempting but my future has me going back home to Dallas, Texas,” Hensarling said then.

The capital-formation bill, known as JOBS Act 3.0, was co-sponsored with Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the committee's top Democrat. The bill, which includes some financial regulatory relief provisions, passed the House with near-unanimous support this month. But it faces more difficult odds in the Senate.

“I'm not oblivious to the fact that it takes 10 Senate Democrats to do it,” Hensarling said in the CNBC interview. "They're gonna vote on it one way or the other. So they will get the chance to register their yeas and the nays.”

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