WASHINGTON A Congressional Budget Office report estimating the annual federal subsidy given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not come out for several weeks, a spokesman for Rep. Richard Baker said Wednesday.
The report on the government-sponsored enterprises, which was ordered by the Louisiana Republican, had been expected as early as this week but may not arrive until as late as spring, his spokesman said.
Sources speculated that the agency is taking time to carefully review the results of a report that is expected to provoke controversy.
A CBO spokeswoman declined to say when the report would be released, but that it is undergoing review by outside experts.
The congressman is very anxious to get it out, she said. We are anxious to get it out, but we are anxious to get it out right.
Rep. Baker who has criticized the government-sponsored enterprises as benefiting unfairly from $2.25 billion of emergency lines of credit with the Treasury Department, tax exemptions, and other government protections said last week the report would show an annual subsidy of about $10 billion. That would be much higher than the $6.5 billion estimate from a 1996 CBO study, which Fannie and Freddies critics have used to argue that the subsidies benefit shareholders and management at the expense of homebuyers.
Freddie Mac on Wednesday issued the results of a study it commissioned challenging the CBOs conclusion that the government-sponsored enterprises only passed $4.4 billion of their $6.5 billion subsidy to homebuyers, and that the rest went to shareholders and management.
James E. Pearce, a consultant and former Federal Reserve Bank and Federal Home Loan Bank economist, and James C. Miller 3d, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, concluded in their report that Freddie and Fannie provide homebuyers with greater benefits in interest savings on loans than the two companies receive in federal subsidies.
They also said that banks and thrifts get a greater funding advantage from their government subsidies than Fannie and Freddie do, but that there is no evidence depositories pass on benefits to consumers as effectively.